What to Do About Sesamoiditis

At Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC we find that many patients have never even heard of the sesamoids until they become inflamed and painful. Sesamoids are unique structures in the body. They are bones that are embedded in a tendon. In your foot, they are found at the base of the big toe. The sesamoids act like pulleys enabling your big toe to move and push off when you walk. 

Signs of Trouble

If you are suffering from sesamoiditis you may feel a dull ache under your big toe. This pain is consistent but may come and go depending on your activities or the shoes you wear. Sesamoiditis is an inflammation of the sesamoid bones and the tendons in which they reside. It is considered an overuse injury due to repetitive pressure. People who participate in sports that involve excessive pounding on the ball of the foot, such as basketball, football, tennis and ballet are particularly at risk. Other causes of sesamoid inflammation include spending a lot of time in high heeled shoes or if having high arches.


Since the symptoms of sesamoiditis are similar to those of a few other conditions, it’s important that one of our foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko examine your foot and evaluate your walking pattern. Sometimes the foot doctor will look for clues in the wear pattern of your shoes. X-rays or other advanced imaging studies may also be performed.

Once the podiatrist confirms a case of sesamoiditis, there are many non-surgical treatment options available. If your pain is considerable, the foot doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain and make it easier to walk. Other treatments include: immobilizing the foot to allow the inflammation to die down, padding in the shoe, strapping or taping the toe in a position that reduces tension on the sesamoids, physical therapy and orthotics to reposition the foot.

Remember, pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. If you have been experiencing pain in the ball of your foot, contact our Valley Stream or Lake Success office for an appointment today.