Maybe it started just as an ache in the ball of your foot that was there some days and not others. As time has gone on, however, the pain has become more constant. You may also have noticed swelling and bruising on the ball of your foot and it’s becoming painful to bend and flex your big toe. If this sounds familiar, you may have a condition we often treat at Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, called sesamoiditis.
What’s Behind the Pain?
Sesamoids are tiny bones that are attached only to tendons or embedded in muscle. They are not very common in the body but there are two of them in your foot, on the bottom, under your big toe. The function of the sesamoids in the foot is to provide a smooth surface for the tendons to slide over as they transmit muscle force to the forefoot. This is important in the motion of the big toe and also aids in weight bearing. If, however, the tendons surrounding the sesamoids become irritated and inflamed, sesamoiditis sets in and you will experience the symptoms described above.
The most common factor responsible for causing the inflammation is frequent participation in activities that put a large amount of pressure on the ball of your foot. These include: running, tennis, golf, gymnastics and football. Other causes include having high arches and frequently wearing high-heeled shoes.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco, will determine the right course of treatment for you. There are several non-invasive options, including:
- Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or cortisone injections may be prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Icing: Icing the ball of the foot may also help relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Rest: You may need to refrain from activities that inflame the sesamoids for a while. In some cases, the foot doctor may put your foot in some type of cast to immobilize it and give the bones and tendons a chance to heal.
- Strapping or taping: to relieve pressure to the sesamoids, the big toe may be strapped or taped
- Orthotics and padding: Padding can cushion the ball of your foot and orthotic devices may be prescribed to position the foot in a way that relieves tension on the sesamoid area.
- Physical therapy
If you are experiencing pain in the ball of your foot or on any other part of your foot or ankle, contact our Somers Point office for an appointment by calling (609) 927-4894. The path to pain relief is just a phone call away.