Understanding Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is a condition which plagues the sesamoid bones at the front of the foot. So named for their resemblance to sesame seeds, they are a set of two bones located under the big toe which stabilize the entire foot. 

Sesamoiditis is when you feel a sharp pain, ache, or soreness at the specific area where these bones are, especially when you step off the ground as you walk. Continuing to walk or engage in activity will increase the pain until it becomes an intense throb.

Sesamoiditis affects the sesamoid bones in the front of the foot. | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia
Sesamoiditis affects the sesamoids in the front of the foot.

What causes Sesamoiditis?

The tendons which run through the sesamoids can be easily aggravated with a rubbing movement causing inflammation and irritation to these structures. Ballerinas, baseball catchers and runners are most likely to develop sesamoiditis according to The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, but you don’t have to be an athlete or dancer to suffer from it. Other causes include:

  • Wearing high heeled shoes often
  • Poorly fitted footwear
  • Foot deformities e.g having a high arch
The sesamoids affected by sesamoiditis are small, and located under the big toe joint. | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia
The sesamoids are two small, sesame-seed like bones located under the big toe joint.

Best Sesamoiditis Treatment

They’re only two small bones, but sesamoid pain can be chronic and debilitating since those two little bones help to support the entire foot. Prevention is usually the best course of action and requires the victim to make major lifestyle changes in the meantime, such as:

  • Switching to low-heeled shoes with firm, rubber soles
    • High heels place more pressure on the front of the foot, aggravating the sesamoiditis
    • Shock-absorbance and structure will have to be considered.
    • Shoes should also be replaced regularly to ensure good support
  • Reducing activity in general and getting adequate rest 

If you are already suffering from sesamoiditis, our first-line treatments for you are mostly conservative in nature. Meaning, they are non-invasive, and generally involve added lifestyle changes on top of what’s recommended above. This includes:

  • Wearing cushioning pads or special orthotic devices to help further support your feet
    • Specifically, they would be placed under the ball of your feet and should be worn whenever possible.
  • Depending on the case, we might also recommend steroid injections to help reduce swelling.

In severe cases, surgery to remove the sesamoid(s) entirely may be needed, especially if they have become fractured or otherwise damaged. Don’t let it get to that point! Book a consultation with us today to figure out a treatment plan for you.

Written by Mark B. Reyneker
Written by Mark B. Reyneker

Based in Singapore, 20 years of clinical experience. Practiced in South Africa, Malaysia, and Singapore. Pioneered CAD/CAM custom-made orthotics in S.E Asia.

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