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Types of Sesamoid Injuries in the Foot

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A sesamoid is a bone embedded in a tendon. Sesamoids are found in several joints in the body, but in the foot the sesamoids are located in the ball of the foot. They are two pea-shaped bones beneath the big toe joint.

The sesamoids in the foot help the big toe to move properly and provide leverage when the big toe pushes off during walking and running.

Sesamoid injuries can involve the bones, tendons, and/or the surrounding tissue in the joint. These injuries are often associated with activities that require a lot of pressure on the ball of the foot, like running, ballet, basketball, football, golf, tennis, and other sporting activities. Wearing shoes that put a lot of pressure on the ball of the foot, such as high heels, can also cause sesamoid injuries.

There are three types of sesamoid injuries in the foot:

  1. Turf toe. Turf toe is an injury to the soft tissue surrounding the big toe joint and causes immediate, sharp pain and swelling. It typically affects the entire big toe joint and limits the motion of the big toe.
  2. Fracture. Fractures in the sesamoid bone can either be acute or chronic. Acute fractures are caused by trauma. Acute fractures cause immediate pain and swelling at the site of the break. However, the entire big toe joint is not usually affected. A chronic fracture is a stress fracture, typically caused by repetitive stress and overuse. The pain of a stress fracture usually comes and goes and is worse with activity.
  3. Sesamoiditis. Sesamoiditis is an overuse injury. It involves chronic inflammation of the sesamoid bones and the tendons involved with those bones. Sesamoiditis is caused by pressure on the sesamoids. Like with a stress fracture, the pain from sesamoiditis and goes and is worse with some activities or with certain shoes.

If you are suffering pain on the ball of your foot or pain in your big toe joint, you may have a sesamoid injury. It is important to see a podiatrist if you are suffering from a sesamoid injury. There are various non-surgical treatment options available including orthotic devices, physical therapy, padding, strapping, taping, immobilization, and/or steroid injections or oral medications

For more information, you can watch the video Podiatrist, Dr. Knox Explains Ball of Foot Problems.

If you would like to set up an appointment with our office, you can contact us at 615-220-8788 or at our toll-free number 888-713-0906. You can also request an appointment online.

Category: Foot Problems

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