Sesamoiditis

Foot and Ankle Specialist in the South Bay

The sesamoid bones, or sesamoids, are two bones located under the big toe on the bottom of the foot. Unlike most other bones in the body, the sesamoids are not connected to any other bone, and function like pulleys to provide a smooth surface for tendons to transmit muscle forces. They also provide assistance with weight bearing and elevate the bones of the big toe.

Sesamoids can break (fracture) just as any other bone. The tendons connected to the sesamoids can also become inflamed or irritated. This is known as sesamoiditis, and it is a form of tendonitis. Sesamoiditis is commonly seen in runners, baseball catchers, and ballet dancers.

With sesamoiditis, pain is typically located on the ball of the foot under the big toe. Pain can develop gradually, and can cause difficulty with straightening or bending the big toe, as well as pain with physical activity. Bruising or swelling may not always be visible.

Sesamoiditis Treatment

In most cases, treatment will be nonsurgical, and can include:

  • Medications to control inflammation and pain
  • Rest and avoiding activity that causes pain
  • Shoe modifications and cushion pads to relieve pressure
  • Protecting and immobilizing the foot with a brace or walking boot
  • Gradual return to physical activity
  • Physical therapy, stretching exercises, and ultrasound treatments

If nonsurgical approaches fail, surgery may be recommended to remove the sesamoid bone or address other issues affecting the foot or ankle.

Comprehensive Orthopedic Care

At Torrance Memorial Physician Network, our specialists take a comprehensive approach to treating patients and their unique conditions. When you request an appointment with our South Bay foot and ankle specialist, you will receive a personalized evaluation to assess the underlying cause of your pain and find the most appropriate treatment for you, whether that involves treating sesamoiditis or a fracture of the sesamoids. Call to request an appointment.