Sesamoid Bone Problems & Your Feet

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Two very important bones in your feet are the sesamoid bones located in the balls of your feet just below your big toe. These bones provide a major function for your foot and therefore they take a lot of punishment. As a result, fractures and other problems can easily manifest themselves, especially if you are an athlete and put pressure on your big toe frequently. Here is more about the rigors that your sesamoid bones go through as well as more about sesamoiditis and its treatment.

What Are the Sesamoid Bones?

Sesamoid bones are bones that aren't directly connected to a joint in the ways other bones connect. Instead, these bones exist independently and are connected by tendons to allow for and control flexibility. The knee is a classic example of a sesamoid bone; there are also sesamoid bones in your hand.

However, most of the time when sesamoid problems or sesamoiditis are mentioned, the terms usually refer to the foot bones. The sesamoid bones in your foot help with weight-bearing exercises like walking and running. They help with keeping the big toe powerful and flexible at the same time.

How Are Sesamoid Bones and Tendons Injured?

The tendons around sesamoid bones can become swollen and irritated through overuse and become the inflammatory condition otherwise known sesamoiditis. If your activities involve stress on the forefoot, such as jumping or running, or quick stops and turns, then you may also be at risk for a fracture.

What Are the Symptoms of Sesamoid Problems?

If you fracture your sesamoid bones, then you are likely to experience pain immediately. However, if you have sesamoiditis, then you may not notice anything right away, or only notice a dull pain that gets worse over time. You will also have trouble with bending and straightening out your toes and walking may become difficult.

How Are Sesamoid Problems Treated?

Fortunately, surgery is rarely necessary for sesamoid bone problems and rest and reducing the activity for a time is often enough to alleviate the pain. You might also want to change your footwear and make sure you have no toe crowding. A thicker, more cushioned shoe sole may also provide comfort as well as reduce the risk of a problem in the future.

The good news is that, if you address the problem right away, sesamoiditis shouldn't put you out of your sport or activity permanently. Make sure you are wearing proper footwear and take the necessary time off so that your sesamoiditis doesn't become a permanent condition. If you are experiencing any type of foot pain that is putting your off your sport, then contact a podiatric sports medicine doctor through websites like