Sesamoid Injuries: Small Bones Cause Big Pain

Are you experiencing pain in the ball of your foot that makes it difficult to put your full weight on your foot? Is it difficult to bend and straighten your big toe? How about swelling or bruising—do you see any in the area where the pain is? At Benenati Foot & Ankle Care Centers, we know that “yes” answers to these questions likely indicate an injury to the sesamoids.

What Are Sesamoids?

Sesamoids are small bones that are connected only to tendons or are embedded in the muscle. These unique structures are found only in a few places in the body and one of them is your feet. Located on the bottom of your foot on either side of the base of the big toe, the sesamoids provide a smooth surface over which tendons slide, transmitting muscle forces and assisting with weight-bearing and pushing off by your big toe. Though tiny, sesamoids play a big role in enabling you to walk and they can cause major pain if injured.

Diagnosing and Treating Sesamoid Injuries

Our podiatrists Dr. Anthony Benenati, Dr. Neil Shaw, and Dr. Adam Thompson will examine your feet and get a complete medical history. The foot doctor will check the movement and range of motion of your big toe and may order x-rays or other imaging studies. You should let the foot doctor know if you injured your foot in any way recently.

Sesamoids can fracture like any other bone. More commonly, the tendon surrounding the sesamoid can become inflamed due to overuse, and this can be the cause of the discomfort. Known as sesamoiditis, this condition frequently afflicts dancers, baseball and softball catchers, runners and other patients whose activities put significant pressure on the ball of the foot.

There are several conservative treatment methods available for sesamoid pain and inflammation, and the podiatrist will choose the best course of treatment for your particular injury. Some options include medication, icing, shoe modifications and an injection of steroidal medication.

If you believe you may have a sesamoid injury, make an appointment at our Macomb (586) 416-3668, St. Clair Shores (586) 779-6140 or Warren (586) 756-3338 office to get your foot evaluated as soon as possible.

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