What is Sesamoiditis?


Do you know about the two pea-sized bones near your big toe joint? They help to move it up and down each time you step, working with connective tendons like a pulley. They might be small, but they’ve got a mighty job to do! You might know all too much about these bones and tendons if they’ve ever become irritated or inflamed. Just like any other tendons can painfully flare up, so can this tiny hard-working pulley system of your big toe. The bones are called sesamoids, due to their resemblance of sesame seeds and this type of tendonitis is called sesamoiditis. It often occurs because of overuse or because of an acute injury to the big toe.

If you’re a ballet dancer, sprinter, golfer, or a baseball player, you might already know about sesamoiditis. It often occurs in these sports – for both professionals and amateurs – because of the amount of weight they place on their big toe joint throughout a dance or a game. Often it is caused by tightness in the toe flexors. To treat tightness in that area and to prevent sesamoiditis, stretch the toe and tendons four times a day for 2 minutes.

What are the common symptoms of sesamoiditis?

  • The ball of your foot feels tender
  • It feels like there’s something in your sock
  • Swelling underneath the big toe joint
  • Bruising underneath the big toe joint
  • Pain in the big toe joint when moving it
  • Inability to put weight on the joint

What are some sesamoiditis treatments?

  • RICE method (rest, ice, compression, elevation)
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen
  • Brace the joint or tape it to keep it bent downward, relieving tension
  • Steroid injections near the painful joint

Can I prevent sesamoiditis?

If you’re dealing with pain in your sesamoid tendons due to a sports injury, check in with our podiatrist office as soon as you can. Our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Argirios Mantzoukas, can ensure great foot and ankle health and help you get back on your feet, ready to dance or swing a club again. To schedule an appointment, contact us today at (718) 266-1986.