Inflammation of one of the small seasamoid bones situated under the big toe joint.

Never heard of sesamoid bones or sesamoiditis? You’re not alone.

Many people don’t know what sesamoid bones are or how they differ from regular bones. 

Read on to learn everything you need to know about sesamoid bones and sesamoiditis, a common condition that can affect the feet and contribute to foot pain for a lot of people.

What are Sesamoid Bones?

Before you can understand sesamoiditis, you need to understand the sesamoid bones.

Sesamoid bones are bones that connect to the muscles with the help of your tendons. They differ from regular bones, which are connected at the joints.

Common examples of sesamoid bones include the patella, as well as the bones located at the bottom of the foot close to the big toe.

What is Sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis is an inflammatory condition. It occurs when the tendons that connect the sesamoid bones to the muscles become inflamed. Sesamoiditis can affect any of the sesamoid bones, but it’s most common in the feet.

Causes of Sesamoiditis

Most of the time, sesamoiditis is the result of overuse. It often occurs because a person is putting too much stress on their foot.

This condition is common among runners and dancers, people who spend a lot of time on their feet. Baseball catchers are also prone to it due to the amount of time they spend squatting down in a position that can strain the feet.

Symptoms of Sesamoiditis

If you’re dealing with sesamoiditis, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Pain at the Ball of the Foot: Pain at the bottom of the ball of the foot is one of the most common complaints among people dealing with sesamoiditis.
  • Bruising: Bruising around the same area can occur as well.
  • Difficulty Moving the Big Toe: Some people find that this condition affects their mobility, and they may have trouble moving their big toe or putting pressure on it.
  • Swelling: The big toe or the surrounding might also become swollen and inflamed as well.

How Is It Treated?

There are lots of treatment options you may want to consider to relieve the symptoms of sesamoiditis.

Lifestyle changes may be necessary. For example, you may have to take some time off from your sport of choice to allow your sesamoid bones and tendons to heal. You may also benefit from applying cold compresses and using over-the-counter anti- inflammatory medications.

In some cases, your chiropodist/podiatrist may tape the toes or recommend a cortisone shot to help reduce inflammation. Surgery may be required, but usually only in extreme situations.

When Should You See a Doctor?

If you notice pain, inflammation, or any of the other symptoms associated with sesamoiditis, it’s a good idea to see a doctor or foot specialist as soon as you can. They’ll be able to rule out any other conditions that can cause foot pain and help you come up with a plan of action for treatment.

Don’t avoid going to the doctor or foot specialist because you’re worried about what kind of treatment they’ll recommend. Remember, it’s better to get help early when conservative treatments are more likely to work.