What is a sesamoiditis?
Sesamoid injuries involve the bones, tendons, and soft tissues in the area. Any fracture, imbalance, or irritation of the sesamoid bones and the adjacent tendons that cause inflammation of the hard and soft tissues in the area and pain under the big toe are called sesamoiditis. This medical condition is common among the athletes (especially runners) and ballet dancers and is mostly associated with a vague, enduring pain beneath your big toe joint.
What are the sesamoid bones?
The sesamoids are two tiny bones just under the main joint of your big toes (first metatarsal bones). Instead of being connected to the other bones, these bones are embedded in a muscle tendon. They are the size of peas and located on both sides of the base of your big toes. These bones have a crucial role in how the feet and big toes work. The sesamoid bones act as pulleys in your feet and the muscles that bend your big toes cross over the ridges shaped by them, hence give the muscles extra strength. The bones also absorb the pressure during walking and decrease the friction in the local soft tissues.
Causes of sesamoiditis / a sesamoid fracture?
This medical condition is mostly caused by:
- Repetitive movements of the toes in activities such as running or dancing
- A sudden and excessive upward bending force on the big toe
- Flat feet
- Flexible feet
- Fractures: Falling on the front part of the foot, soft tissue overworking (stress fractures in athletes)
- High heel shoes
- Arthritis: In high arch feet
- Post pedicures (removal of callus makes the sesamoid bones more susceptible to injury)
Symptoms of sesamoiditis
Any damage to the sesamoid bones can cause a wide range of problems including:
- Vague pain: Under the big toe in upward stretching of the big toe, develop gradually in sesamoiditis and immediate in fractures
- Limited movements of the big toe
- Walking disorders: Limping, walking on the outside aspect of the foot
- Numbness in the area
- Catching or popping of the joint
Physiotherapy Treatment of Sesamoiditis
A precise treatment plan, comprised mainly of Physiotherapy, can treat most cases of sesamoiditis.
Some treatments include:
- Orthotics: Pads ( sometimes J-shaped pads), cushions, crutches to ease the pressure on the area
- Strapping and taping: To decrease stress on the sesamoids
- Avoiding aggravating activities
- Suitable footwear: Low heel, soft soled shoes
- Medications: NSAIDs
- Moist heat
- Range of motion exercises
Ace Physiotherapy Toronto provides expert care to treat your pain under the big toe and in the long-term, improve your functional result by correcting your foot biomechanics. To book an appointment with a Registered Physiotherapist or Chiropodist call 416-900-6653