Two very small bones located in the ball of your foot are called sesamoid bones. When they and their surrounding soft tissue become irritated and inflamed, sesamoiditis is the result. What makes these bones unique is that they float under your foot near the big toe and are not directly connected to the surrounding bones except by soft tissues. They are essential to helping you stand up and bear weight. They also play an important role in how your toes move. You rely on them the most in activities such as running, climbing, and hiking.

The sesamoid tendons are the connectors between the sesamoid bones and the rest of your foot. When they become inflamed and irritated from overuse, it can cause pain in the ball of the foot. This tends to start gradually but eventually worsens and often leads to a related condition called hallux rigidus, or stiff big toe.

People who spend a lot of time walking on hard surfaces for work or those who have high arches are often more susceptible to developing this condition. It also affects dancers and those who wear tight-fitting shoes like pumps.

What are treatments for sesamoiditis?

Some of the ways to relieve symptoms include:

  • Immediately cease the activity that is causing your sesamoid inflammation or it will just get much worse
  • Ice the area several times a day for ten minutes at a time
  • Ibuprofen may be taken for pain and swelling.
  • Gentle massage may provide some relief
  • Wear soft-soled shoes like sneakers
  • Pads can provide extra support for the sesamoid bones

Sesamoiditis can become chronic. It’s very important to stop doing activities that add too much pressure and stress to the ball of the foot, especially until the swelling and pain have subsided. People often don’t wait long enough to let the inflammation heal, and that just makes things worse.

Sesamoiditis can be hard to treat on your own and may worsen without the proper treatment, so it’s important to see your foot care specialist. At Podiatry Center of New JerseyDr. Russell Samofal treats a variety of conditions such as sports injuries, diabetic foot problemspediatric foot conditions, toe deformities, arthritisnail fungus, arch problems and heel pain. Equipped with advanced technologies and a dedicated staff, Podiatry Center of New Jersey provides individualized high-quality care for patients all across Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Essex counties. For all your foot and ankle problems, contact our Wayne office at (973) 925-4111 for an appointment.