Sesamoiditis is an overuse injury often seen in runners that can cause pain, swelling and discomfort at and beneath the big toe joint.
Sesamoiditis is an overuse injury that causes pain, swelling and discomfort at and beneath the big toe joint. It can affect anyone, though we often see it in runners, dancers and those participating in activities that put additional pressure onto the ball of the foot. Sesamoiditis doesn’t actually affect the big toe joint itself (though the pain is definitely felt there), but instead affects the two small pea-shaped and sized bones called the sesamoids that are located just beneath the big toe at the ball of the foot.
While your sesamoid bones aren’t directly connected to the big toe joint, they are embedded within a tendon that runs directly beneath your big toe (called the flexor hallucis brevis) where they support the tendon’s function. It is this tendon that also becomes inflamed, producing painful symptoms.
The symptoms of sesamoiditis will depend on the severity of the injury as ‘sesamoiditis’ can encompass everything from mildly irritating the tendon to fracturing a sesamoid bone. Symptoms may include:
Due to the location and function of the sesamoid bones, they are subjected to large amounts of pressure and forces every time the big toe is used to push the foot forward - including with every step you take. Anything that results in repeated extra pressure on your forefoot and hence your sesamoids and the associated tendon can result in sesamoiditis. This includes:
Those with prominent foot bones, higher arched feet, markedly flat feet or those who tend to run on the ball of their foot also tend to have a higher risk of developing sesamoiditis.
To ease the symptoms of sesamoiditis and start your path to healing and repair, you can try:
Here at Matt Raden Podiatry, our trusted and experienced podiatrists listen to the concerns, goals and needs of our patients with sesamoiditis, and utilise a range of evidence-based treatment methods to help you get the best outcome.
Every appointment starts with a comprehensive assessment to understand the biomechanics of your feet and legs, and all of the factors that are playing a role in overloading your big toe and creating this problem. We’ll then create a tailored treatment plan based on your results that focuses on helping to heal and repair the damaged bones or tissues, while allowing you to stay as active as possible so you can enjoy the things you love. We may use:
The above measures are the primary recommendations for sesamoiditis and for most of our patients, work brilliantly to get them fully recovered. In rare cases where you do not respond to standard treatment, we will discuss further options like a referral for a steroid injection, or for surgery.
If you have sesamoiditis or are experiencing pain beneath the big toe or ball of your foot, our team is here to help - and to ensure you have the best experience doing so. We’re proud to go above and beyond for our patients, focusing not only on managing your pain and symptoms, but helping you get the best long-term outcomes.