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Sesamoiditis occurs when there is pain and inflammation around the sesamoid bones, which are located within the tendons that connect to the big toe. The sesamoid bones act as a lever, allowing the big toe to move up and down. These bones are used when we push off from the big toe during activities such as walking.

Causes of sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is often caused by pressure or trauma. The sesamoid bones are located under part of the foot that bears a significant amount of weight, and when they are overused or excessive pressure is placed on them, it can lead to pain and inflammation. For instance, runners may suffer from sesamoiditis after running up hill or increasing the length of their workouts. Similarly, individuals who have naturally high-arched feet and those who regularly wear high heels may also suffer from sesamoiditis due to the pressure placed on the balls of their feet.

Sesamoiditis symptoms

Symptoms of sesamoiditis appear gradually and may include:

  • Pain in the ball of the foot that is aggravated by movement of the big toe joint.
  • Pain that worsens when walking with bare feet or on hard surfaces. 
  • Swelling on the bottom of the feet.

An X-ray can be taken to confirm whether the symptoms you have are caused by sesamoiditis.

Treatment of sesamoiditis

The first step to treating sesamoiditis is to refrain from the activity that is causing pain. Resting the foot can be very beneficial in allowing it time to heal. However, when walking is necessary, the big toe should be strapped down to prevent the joint from moving.

Anti-inflammatory medication may also be taken to help reduce pain, and ice can be applied to the sole of the foot to reduce swelling.

If the condition is more severe, cortisone injections may be administered to relieve pain and inflammation. While the foot is healing, it is especially important to wear comfortable shoes with cushioned soles to protect the ball of the foot from additional pressure.

If you are noticing signs of sesamoiditis, schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine what treatment is best for you.

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