Foot injuries

Treating Sesmoiditis — The Injured Runner

Sesmoiditis is inflammation of the sesmoid bones, which are very small bones at the base of 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.

  • See Principles of Recovery
  • 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 sesmoid 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.