What Is Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is a common condition impacting the forefoot that occurs when the sesamoid bones become irritated or fractured. The sesamoid bones are tiny bones found on the underside of the foot under the big toe joint within the tendons that run to the big toe. Because of where the sesamoid bones are located, this condition also results in the tendons around the bones becoming irritated. They have a pulley-type function, increasing the leverage of the tendons controlling the toe. The sesamoid bones are often described to function like a kneecap for the big toe joint.

Sesamoiditis is most often experienced by young people, runners and dancers. With an appropriate care plan, most people fully recover from Sesamoiditis within several months.

Sesamoiditis Causes

The major causes of Sesamoiditis are:

  •  A sudden increase in activity levels or change of exercise type that places more pressure on the balls of the feet.
  • Bony feet with a lack of padding to protect the sesamoid bones.
  • Feet with high arches can transfer pressure to the balls of the feet during certain movements.
  • Flat feet.
  • Wearing high heels.
  • When the big toe is suddenly pulled upwards.
  • Footwear with narrow toe boxes and toe springs.


People with Sesamoiditis often experience a dull pain in the ball of the foot, right underneath the big toe joint. This pain typically does not improve without treatment and can heighten to a sharp throbbing sensation. The sensations can come and go and usually become worse when wearing certain kinds of shoes or during particular movements.

Other common signs of Sesamoiditis include:

  •  Swelling, bruising and pain in the ball of the feet and surrounding area.
  • An inability to move the big toe freely.
  • Limping or walking differently to usual to compensate for the discomfort experienced. This can in turn result in pain to people’s knees, hips, lower back and other parts of the foot.


Dan Everson Podiatry diagnoses cases of Sesamoiditis through history taking, a physical examination of the area and a Biomechanical Assessment to study your movement. An X-ray may also be recommended.

Sesamoiditis Treatment

Dan Everson Podiatry typically suggests one or more of the following treatment methods:

  •  A period of rest.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Applying ice to the area after exercise or movement that causes pain.
  • Your podiatrist may advise you to wear a different style of shoe that can take pressure off the area and allow the toes room to spread.
  • Avoiding wearing high heels while the area heals.
  • Strapping or taping the big toe during the healing process.
  • Your podiatrist may recommend you wear a cushioning pad under the area for extra support.
  • A moon boot may be advised for serious cases.
  • Certain exercises can support the recovery process.
  • Surgery may be considered in some cases. Dan Everson Podiatry can advise you on the best approach.


Dan Everson Podiatry recommends the following activities to help prevent Sesamoiditis:

  • Kinetic Orthotics may help prevent this condition by cushioning the sesamoid bones if you have some of the risk factors.
  • The correct form of footwear that allow the feet enough room to move and doesn’t cramp the toes.
  • Replacing athletic shoes at least every six months.

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