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Sesamoiditis

Introduction

Sesamoiditis is an inflammation of the sesamoid bones, or the tiny bones embedded in the tendon of the foot and surrounding areas.

Anatomy

The sesamoid bones are located on the bottom of the foot beneath the big toe joint, and they aid in the movement of the toe.  When these bones become inflamed, severe pain and swelling occurs.

Causes

The most common cause of sesamoiditis is repetitive, excessive pressure on the forefoot which is common amongst dancers, runners, people who engage in strenuous physical activity, and women who wear high-heeled shoes.

Symptoms

The most common symptom of sesamoiditis is pain around the ball of the foot that begins as a mild ache and gradually becomes worse.  An intense throbbing sensation may develop if the condition is not treated and physical activity continues.  The bottom of the foot may become swollen and tender.

Diagnosis

To be diagnosed with sesamoiditis, your doctor will first need to exam your big toe joint and the surrounding area.  Your physician will also want to evaluate your walking pattern and wear on your shoes.  At that point, they may want to order a diagnostic test to further evaluate if this is the cause of your foot problem.

Treatment

Mild cases of sesamoiditis are treated by reducing the pressure on the sesamoid bones until inflammation subsides.  Common treatments include resting the foot, binding the foot with athletic tape, wearing custom orthotics or arch supports, applying ice to the inflamed area, or taking anti-inflammatory medications.  Physical therapy can help – your therapist can assist in selecting the right orthotic for you, as well as teach you how to regain your range of motion.

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