Definition of the Condition

Put simply, sesamoiditis is an inflammation of the sesamoid bones. These tiny bones are embedded within a tendon, and are not joined to other bones by joints, making them somewhat unique. They are to be found in the knee, wrists, elbows and the feet.

The foot has two sesamoid bones at the base of the first metatarsal bone, where the metatarsal meets the big toe. Having two sesamoid bones is not a must; there are people who have only one sesamoid bone, but this is not considered an abnormality, sometimes the two sesamoid bones are bipartite – or they are split in two, making four small bones.

Sesamoiditis in the foot manifests through pain experienced when walking. Other sesamoiditis symptoms are tenderness of the surrounding tissues and a small swelling of the metatarsal joint. An interesting fact about sesamoiditis is that the pain is felt only during activity and as soon as we stop applying pressure on the foot, the pain reduces rapidly and may even disappear. In more serious cases though, sesamoiditis symptoms involve constant pain, although this is rare.

Causes of Sesamoid Problems

Sesamoiditis symptoms may not be very difficult to observe, but what are the causes that may lead to such a condition? Sesamoiditis in the foot may result from inappropriate increases of time spent exercising or when the intensity or frequency is increased too quickly. Sudden forceful bending upwards of the big toe, excessive wearing of high heels or even a stumble can lead to injury of the sesamoid bones.

Dancers are prone to developing sesamoiditis, as they spend most of their training time on the tips of their toes. Women who wear high heels for long periods of time expose themselves to the risks of having sesamoiditis in the foot. Runners who overpronate are likely to develop the condition too. People with high arches also place a great strain on the forefoot and are thus prone to developing sesamoiditis in the foot. People who have abnormalities in the foot bones and especially persons who have large sesamoid bones are particularly prone to the condition.

Treatment of Sesamoiditis

Luckily, treatment does not involve surgery and is thus noninvasive. As sesamoiditis is an inflammation, ice can help to reduce any swelling and pain, and can speed up recovery. Together with ice, anti-inflammatory medication may be prescribed to help reduce the pain and swelling. Shoe pads and shoe inserts placed under the ball of the foot can help reduce the stress applied on the sesamoid bones. A metatarsal pad placed away from the joint will help redistribute the pressure of weight bearing to other parts of the foot.

Last but not least, let’s not forget that sesamoiditis is a condition resulting from foot overuse. Try to rest your feet for a couple of days and, if you are a woman, avoid wearing high-heels. The pain will not let you anyway, but listen to it and wear flat shoes on a daily basis.
If these suggestions do not work, see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. If you are not sure you are suffering from sesamoiditis in the foot, then do not apply the treatment suggested above. You may have a hunch of what it is, but only a doctor or podiatrist can tell you for sure that this condition is affection you and will prescribe the right medication or treatment plan.

Author's Bio: 

Steve Roberts writes on personal wellness and aims to help educate people about common health problems which are often easily avoidable. Sesamoiditis may be straightforward to cure, but its even easier to avoid. Sesamoid problems are an overuse injury and can therefore often be prevented.