In our bodies, most of our bones are connected to other bones by joints. However, some bones, known as sesamoids, do not connect to other bones at all. These bones actually connect to tendons or are embedded within muscles. Two small sesamoids are found in each of your feet near the bottom of your big toe. One is on the outer side of your foot and the other one is towards the middle. These bones help with the transfer of muscle forces and bearing weight. When your sesamoids become irritated or inflamed, it is a condition known as sesamoiditis which causes ball of foot pain.
Who is at Risk?
Those who put a lot of pressure on their toes and ball of foot, are most prone to this condition. Ballet dancers, runners, and baseball catchers, for example, commonly get sesamoiditis because of the constant weight and stress on their sesamoids that causes them to become irritated.
The main symptom of this condition is pain that is focused on the ball of your foot near the big toe. This can develop gradually over time through excessive and repetitive use, or immediately from an injury. When bending or straightening your big toe, you may experience a large amount of pain. Sometimes, although not always, swelling and bruising in that part of the foot is an indicator of sesamoiditis as well, but it’s not always easy to see. Here’s a tip: use a mirror to get a better look at it, or have somebody else check it out for you—like Mark Gasparini, D.P.M.
During an examination, we will look for signs of tenderness and swelling, and ask you to bend and straighten your big toe to see how painful it is. Also, an X-ray is typically taken so we can get an even better look at your foot.
Treatments to Try
Usually the treatments for sesamoiditis are nonsurgical, with stopping the activity that caused the injury being at the top of the list. Although it is hard to disrupt your routine, you must rest to give yourself time to heal.
In the meantime, anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections can help with swelling and pain. Keeping the toe bent slightly downward helps and can be achieved through taping. Also, you should wear soft-soled, low-heeled shoes to make your feet more comfortable. Adding cushioning pads inside them will help alleviate pressure as well. Once your pain subsides, return to your activities slowly while still wearing the cushioning pads for support.
Removable short leg fracture braces can be worn for 4 to 6 weeks if the pain does not go away after trying the above methods. If all else fails, surgery may be necessary to remove the sesamoid bones.
If you have ball of foot pain and you live in Lindenhurst, Massapequa Park, Farmingdale, Bethpage, Wantagh, or Seaford, NY, contact Mark Gasparini, D.P.M.to find out more about sesmoiditis. We understand the pain you are going through and how it is affecting your daily activities. By calling (561) 804-9038 to schedule an appointment, you are taking the first step towards recovery. Come in for a consultation to see how we can help keep your feet pain-free.
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