In order to know what sesamoiditis is you first have to know what sesamoids are. Tiny bones embedded in tendons and found in and around joints, sesamoids can be found in several parts of the body. In the foot, there are two of them under the big toe joint. The sesamoids pave the way for the smooth movement of the big toe, acting as a kind of pulley for the tendons. They aid the big toe in the pushing off motion of walking or running and also help absorb stress on the ball of the foot during weight-bearing activities. The condition known as sesamoiditis occurs when these small bones become inflamed.
The inflammation of the sesamoids is most often due to an excess amount of pressure being put on the ball of the foot. At Foot & Ankle Specialists, PC we find that patients with this condition often participate frequently in sports and activities that involve pounding on the ball of the foot such as basketball, tennis, running, football and ballet. Also, patients who often wear high heels are at an increased risk for sesamoiditis as are people with high arches. The pain associated with the inflammation may be constant or come and go but may be more noticeable when you are doing activities that put pressure on the ball of the foot.
To confirm a diagnosis of sesamoiditis, one of our podiatrists, Dr. Scott E. Hughes, Dr. Greg P. Vogt, Dr. Christine I. Tumele, and Dr. Matthew W.E. Lewin will examine your foot and particularly your big toe, manipulating it to determine where the pain is. The foot doctor may check the wear pattern of your shoes and want to observe you walking. X-rays may be ordered as well to complete the picture.
There are several non-surgical options that the foot doctor can use to treat sesamoiditis. These include padding to protect the ball of the foot as well as taping or strapping the toe to release tension in the area. Physical therapy may be recommended to help with range of motion and strengthening surround muscles. Orthotics for the shoes may help shift pressure off the sesamoid. For pain relief, the foot doctor may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary but the only way to find out is to come in for an evaluation if you are experiencing pain in the ball of your foot. Contact our Monroe or Lambertville office for an appointment at your earliest convenience.