Could the Pain in the Ball of Your Foot Be Sesamoiditis?

There are a few bones in your body that are not connected to other bones. Instead, they are connected only to tendons.

These bones are called sesamoids and there are two in each foot. They are very small, pea-sized, and are located under the foot near the big toe. The sesamoids in the foot help bear your weight and also help the tendons by transferring muscle force over their surfaces. This is important in activities like climbing and hiking. Another sesamoid bone is the patella – your kneecap – and is the largest in your body.

Sometimes, because of overuse, the sesamoid tendons become inflamed resulting in sesamoiditis. Runners, baseball catchers and ballet dancers are frequent sufferers from sesamoiditis. Others who are prone to this condition are individuals with high arches, those who stand on hard surfaces for extended periods of time and those who wear high heels.

Do You Have Sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis causes pain in the ball of the foot that begins gradually. Eventually the big toe stiffens and is hard to bend or straighten out. You may see localized bruising and swelling. Occasionally the sesamoid bones fracture causing immediate severe pain.

If you have pain in the ball of the foot, come in to Your Next Step for an evaluation. To confirm the diagnosis of sesamoiditis, we will assess your foot and toe health and take x-rays right in our offices.

Treat Sesamoiditis Conservatively

Non-invasive treatments usually succeed with sesamoid inflammation but it’s important to see a podiatrist. Without the right treatment, sesamoiditis can worsen.

  • Stop all activities that cause pain.
  • Apply ice wrapped in a thin towel to the sole of your foot several times a day.
  • Take ibuprofen to relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Switch to soft-soled, low-heeled shoes like sneakers or moccasins. Cushioning pads can reduce stress to the foot even further.

If conservative treatments don’t succeed, we can use steroid injections to relieve the swelling.

You will be able to resume your normal activities when the pain and inflammation have subsided. Continue to provide extra support under the sesamoids with a foam rubber pad. Stay away from activities that put stress on the ball of the foot.

Sesamoiditis Does Not Resolve on Its Own

Please contact Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, board certified and qualified podiatrists with any foot or ankle pain. Call us today for an appointment – you can find contact information at the website for our Ardmore, Paoli and Downingtown offices. Don’t suffer from pain in the ball of your foot – we can help!

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