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What Is Sesamoiditis and What Can Be Done About It


As more and more people are become increasingly more active, foot and ankle injuries and ailments seem to be progressively rising in number as well. Fitness has become a renewed interest to many individuals as they try to become healthier and live longer and happier lives. Repetitive activities and motions that involve the use of the feet is the main cause of Sesamoiditis.

Within the foot are tendons that contain small bones called sesamoids that actually allow the movement of the great toe. Inflammation often occurs in the tendons containing the sesamoid bones and this is medically termed Sesamoiditis. When this happens, there is most generally swelling and very severe pain in the bottom of foot under the joint of the great toe.

However, this foot pain often feels as if it is consuming the entire foot and ankle. In some individuals the foot pain may start as only mild pain and with further activity it progresses into a more severe and often throbbing pain that many describe as being almost unbearable.

The majority of those suffering with Sesamoiditis also complain of a great deal of swelling while others have a very minimal amount. With the pain and swelling, however, there is no bruising or redness to alert a person to a potential problem.

Treating Sesamoiditis

Although anyone is susceptible to this condition, it is most common in those who are highly active such as athletes, dancers, those who regularly jog, run, or walk long distances, and in women who wear high heel shoes frequently. Those who are employed in jobs where they are required to stand or remain on their feet for most of the workday are also at a high risk. Some options for treating Sesamoiditis can include:

• A great deal of rest and in some severe cases complete rest.
• Use of a shoe that is modified to custom fit the foot.
• Padded shoe inserts.
• Joint of the toe should be immobilized to accelerate the process of healing.
• Use of over-the-counter pain medications for pain and ibuprofen to help decrease any swelling.
• Steroid injections placed in the joint that is inflamed.
• Placement of a cast or type of brace to help immobilize the entire area to speed healing time.
• Ice should be applied to the area and left for no more than fifteen minutes at a time to aid in the reduction of swelling and inflammation. This can be repeated several times throughout the day.

With this condition, nearly all treatments are non-invasive. However, if an individual continues to have problems or the swelling and pain continues to worsen, the advice of a physician or a podiatrist should be sought. In many cases it may be necessary to have a scan of the bones or MRI in addition to X-rays of the area. Close evaluation of the patterns in which a person walks will also be taken. In order to establish a person’s prior range of motion, physical therapy may be suggested.
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