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Sesamoids and Sesamoiditis

Did you know that in each foot, there are two special structures composed of bones embedded in a tendon that allow the tendon to slide smoothly? It’s true! These unique features are called sesamoids. They are both located on the top of the foot around the big toe, and they make it easier to perform activities that require us to push off with our toes, like running or climbing. These activities, in addition to sports, overuse, or standing for a long period of time, force the sesamoids to withstand a lot of pressure, and as a result, they can become inflamed or even fracture. This condition is known as sesamoiditis.

Causes

In addition to the activities mentioned above, the following are also known to cause sesamoiditis:

  • Ballet
  • Playing catcher on the baseball field
  • Having high arches
  • Wearing high-heeled shoes

Symptoms

The symptoms of sesamoiditis are similar to those of other inflammatory conditions:

  • Pain in the ball of the foot or under the big toe that is worse when aggravated
  • Swelling and bruising around the big toe
  • Stiffness in the big toe, leading to difficulty bending and pain

Treatment

Fortunately, for the most part, sesamoiditis can be effectively treated on your own by taking the following measures:

  • Stop and take a break from the activity that pressures the area and causes you pain
  • Wear the most supportive, cushioned, and soft-soled shoes you own
  • Ice the area while you elevate it in bed or on the couch
  • Stabilize the area with a brace or bandage
  • Under the direction of a doctor, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication

As you can see, sesamoiditis is rarely a cause for extreme concern, and the road to recovery is fairly certain. Nonetheless, any pain you experience should be treated as soon as possible so that you can get back to doing what you love! Board-certified podiatrist Dr. Ryan L. D’Amico of Syracuse Podiatry has treated patients of all ages in Onondaga County and Central New York for foot and ankle ailments such as ingrown toenails, heel pain, and diabetic wounds. To reach our Fayetteville office for questions or appointments, please contact us at (315) 446-3668!

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