Foot injuries

Treating Sesamoiditis -The Injured Runner

What is sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis is inflammation of the sesamoid bones, which are very small bones at the base of the big toe. These bones attach to the tendon that flexes the big toe.

These bones are small and flat; most people cannot feel them when touching the area. They provide some protection to the joint and act as a fulcrum for the tendon that bends the toe. You will feel pain on the bottom of the knuckle of your big toe.

Treating sesamoiditis

  • If you have an old pair of shoe inserts you can cut out the area directly under the painful spot (about the size of a dime). You can also try a donut-type relief pad (available at drug stores in the foot care area) to take pressure off of the irritated area.
  • Gently stretch your toes. Grasp each toe individually and stretch it one way and then the other. Hold the stretch for about 5 seconds and repeat 5 times for each toe, but double the number of stretches for your big toe.
  • If you have been having pain for more than 2-3 months then you may benefit from orthotics. Orthotics are custom made foot supports that in some cases can position the foot in a way that reduces strain on the sesamoid bones. For this condition it is probably best to see a podiatrist to discuss if orthotics will help you.
  • An anti-inflammatory cream could be used to reduce the pain and inflammation. Talk to your doctor about transdermal anti-inflammatories.
  • When none of the above treatments work you may want to consider a steroid injection to decrease the inflammation.