Sesamoids: Tiny Bones that Can Cause Big Pain

Do you know what sesamoids are? If you don’t, you’re not alone. At Texas Foot Specialists we often find that patients don’t know much about sesamoids until they have a problem with them. Sesamoids are small bones that are embedded in a tendon. They are found in several areas of the body, one of them being your feet. Two bones about the size of a pea are found in the ball of your foot under the big toe joint. Although small, these bones play a big role in helping the big toe push off for activities like walking, running and jumping.

Sesamoids can be irritated by an excess amount of time spent doing activities that put pressure on the ball of the foot, including: basketball, golf, tennis, ballet, running and football. Other possible causes of sesamoid inflammation are having overly high arches and frequently wearing high-heeled shoes.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you are experiencing pain in ball of your foot near the big toe joint, our podiatrists, Dr. Gregory Mangum and Dr. Bruce Miller, will examine your toe joint. The foot doctor may manipulate your toe and also evaluate your gait and the wear pattern of your shoes. X-rays and other imaging studies may also be ordered.

There are several conservative treatment options for sesamoids that are inflamed or injured. These include:

  • Immobilization—crutches or a walking cast may be prescribed to prevent weight bearing on the foot and give the sesamoids a chance to heal.
  • Oral medications and/or steroid injections—these are used to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Strapping, padding or taping—to cushion the sesamoids or position the toe in such a way as to relieve pressure on the affected area.
  • Orthotic devices—a more permanent solution if you are prone to sesamoid inflammation is a custom orthotic to wear in your shoe to keep the pressure off the ball of your foot.
  • Physical therapy—exercise can strengthen surrounding muscles and improve range of motion.

If none of these treatments brings relief, then the foot doctor may recommend surgery. To learn more, contact our Houston (713) 664-6677, Sugar Land (281) 242-4448 or Pasadena (281) 991-0600 office for an appointment.

41666535_S_Feet_Heel_Bunion_Flat Feet.jpg