What is Sesamoiditis?


After you take some time to get used to saying the word, you may wonder what that is! Doesn’t really sound harmless, does it? Well, your intuition is correct! It is a condition of inflammation or injury of the tendons around the sesamoids (two small bones near a joint). In this case, they are the sesamoids right under the big toe joint).

As with other forms of tendonitis (like Achilles tendonitis), it is a condition that commonly affects athletes that injure the tendons via overuse from repetitive motions or from traumatic injury. Dancers, basketball players, and runners are prone to this condition, causing them pain and inflammation after putting excessive pressure or force on the big toe joint area. They may experience swelling, bruising, pain, and stiffness. Bearing weight on the balls of the feet or standing at all can become painful.

What can be done to treat sesamoidits?

  • If the inflammation or injury is due to overuse, you should stop the activity. Allow the tendons to rest and recover so that it doesn’t become a worse issue. This also goes for if the problem is caused by a blunt trauma injury, in which case, using the foot would probably cause pain anyway.
  • For mild pain, be sure to use the RICE method at first sign of symptoms: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation will help to ease swelling and pain. You may also need to use NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in conjunction with the RICE method for pain relief and reduction of inflammation.
  • If you can bear weight on the sesamoids, tape some cushioning like foam pads under the sesamoids to reduce pressure and minimize pain. Taking steps when you have pain can worsen inflammation, so stay off the feet as much as possible.
  • Additionally, shoes should be cushioned and have no heel so that the weight is distributed more evenly across the foot. Any height in the heel can move the pressure forward toward the balls of the feet, increasing pressure on the sesamoids.

If you have pain around the big toe joint, it’s best to consult with our podiatrist at Texas Foot Works, Dr. Jonathan M. Kletz. He will assess your foot for a proper diagnosis for your foot pain, and together with his team will provide quality care to treat your sesamoid issue and get you back on your feet. Make an appointment today at our offices in Abrams (Dallas), Athens, and Gun Barrell City, TX!