Description of Sesamoiditis

What is sesamoiditis? To answer that question, first you have to know what the sesamoid bones are. Well, your kneecap is a sesamoid bone. It floats, or is invested in a tendon, that inserts just below your knee. And it's a very, very important bone. We don't have a bone as big as that floating in the bottom of your foot. We have two small, kidney bean-sized bones under your great toe joint, and they get called the sesamoids.

That's the favorite question, when I take an x-ray of people's feet, as far as what appears on that x-ray, under the great toe joint. People think they have tumors. Those are the sesamoids. So now we have two bones called the sesamoids. What is sesamoiditis? Inflammation of one, or both of those bones. When we walk forward, we pivot off of the great toe joint. And we all do that, whether we're active in sports or not.

Causes of Sesamoiditis

So what things bring us to aggravate those bones? Well the first, if people are involved in dance, and wearing heeled shoes, or wear heeled boots, we can put too much force over the great toe joint, and inflame the sesamoids. Some of the other things that cause those bones to be inflamed can be an injury in sports, coming down hard on front of the foot.

But more commonly, when people are home walking around in stocking feet and slippers those bones can become inflamed. Particularly if you have a high arched foot, which again, puts pressure down more on the great toe joint.

Shoes can aggravate the sesamoids. So the thing to do is to be sure that you have a good shock-absorbing insole in your shoes. Wearing thin-soled, flat shoes can inflame it as you walk forward.

What are the Signs of Sesamoiditis?

Pain at the base of your great toe and underneath. And if you have pain there, causing you to favor the foot, and avoid walking over the great toe joint as you try to walk forward, or inability to push off as you walk, you may well have sesamoiditis. If this is the case, great toe joint pain is not normal, come on in, and let's see if you have sesamoiditis. Call us today at 206-368-7000.

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Dr. Rion Berg
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A podiatrist in North Seattle treating families for over 40 years.