Is your big toe aching? It could be due to an inflammation in the tendons that connect two bones in your foot. Sesamoiditis refers to a form of tendonitis that affects the two small sesamoid bones at the bottom of your foot near the big toe. Unlike most other bones in the body, which are linked at the joints, sesamoid bones attach to the bones via tendons. The tendons connecting the sesamoid bones perform important functions: they support your body’s weight when you move and jump, and they enable you to lift your big toe. That’s why ballet dancers, runners, and athletes that put excessive pressure on their feet are most susceptible to sesamoiditis; repeated stress on the tendons can be irritating. Sesamoiditis may also be caused by a stress fracture to the bone, or wearing tight-fitting high heels. As with many orthopedic conditions, sesamoiditis responds well to non-surgical treatments, but full recovery may take several weeks. The first step in doing away with your big toe pain is a visit to a doctor specializing in foot problems.
Symptoms and Treatments for SesamoiditisSesamoiditis symptoms develop gradually, but are usually characterized by swelling and pain at the bottom of the foot, especially when weight is placed on the foot. You may also notice bruising and have difficulty moving your big toe. To confirm a diagnosis of sesamoiditis, your doctor will maneuver your toe in different directions to get an idea of the toe’s flexibility. To assess your pain level, your doctor will press the bottom of your foot. An X-ray may also be ordered to determine if you’ve suffered a fracture. Because the sesamoid bones are so small, other imaging tests such as an MRI or bone scan may be performed to detect damage to the bone or tendons. Therapy designed to treat sesamoiditis begins with switching to well-cushioned, low-heeled footwear or specially-made shoe orthotics to relieve the pressure on the big toe. Avoiding activities that cause pain for a period of time is also advised. Icing the painful toe for 10 minutes several times a day reduces inflammation. To alleviate the pain, you can take over-the-counter pain medications. A steroid injection into the inflamed tendon may be prescribed, as well. Taping your big toe to the one next to it may also help to relieve pain. Have your doctor or a nurse show how to tape the toes properly in a downward slant for the best results. Depending upon your activity level, recovery can take months. Even after the pain subsides, you should consult your doctor on when you can resume running, dancing, or playing a sport again. Athletes may not return to their sport for three to six months. To prevent sesamoiditis, wear comfortable shoes that provide enough space for your toes. Running shoes should be replaced often in order to ensure your feet are well supported and cushioned. If you work at a job where you put pressure on your feet all day, you can slip orthotic insoles into your shoes to give your feet the necessary support they need. Only after at-home and non-surgical methods have failed is surgery recommended. During this procedure, one sesamoid bone is removed. Because one bone is left intact, the toes will stay in their normal placement.
We’re the Foot SpecialistsDon’t let foot pain stop you from enjoying your favorite activities. The doctors and staff at Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group have dedicated their practice to the treatment of a wide range of orthopedic foot problems. We offer the latest therapies to cure sesamoiditis and other foot and ankle disorders. Contact us today for a consultation.
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