Sesamoiditis: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Sesamoids are bones that are attached and supported by tendons. They remain embedded in the muscles and provide a smooth gliding surface for the tendons to move above them. Sesamoiditis is an orthopedic condition characterized by inflammation of the tendons near two small sized sesamoids located in the forefoot. These bones are about the size of a corn kernel and work to support the toes while weight bearing. Sesamoiditis is a type of Tendinitis and is most commonly seen in runners, baseball catchers as well as ballet dancers.


  • Repeated movements that stress the foot such as dancing, hopping and running
  • Presence of a high foot arch
  • Sudden increase in the intensity of physical activity
  • Bony feet that have less fatty layers are prone to Sesamoiditis
  • Osteochondritis – Disrupted blood supply to the sesamoid bones may lead to their death and consequent deposition of calcium near these bones. This in turn leads to tendon inflammation


  • Pain at the inner side of the ball of the foot
  • Pain sets in gradually and increases if the activity is continued
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • The big toe joint may feel tender when touched


  • Clinical evaluation of the foot
  • The doctor may move the foot in different directions to determine positions that increase the pain
  • X-ray examination may reveal the position and status of the bones
  • Bone scan may be required in some cases
  • MRI test may also be conducted to diagnose bone infection


  • The conservative methods of treatment for Sesamoiditis may include one or more of the following:
  • The affected foot should be given sufficient rest and weight bearing should be avoided
  • Use of shoe inserts and pads for added cushioning
  • Immobilization of the big toe using taping techniques or removable straps
  • Cryotherapy- Application of ice packs at regular interval may help to reduce pain and swelling
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed by the orthopedic doctor
  • Corticosteroids may be injected into the joint for immediate relief
  • Wearing flat sole shoes may be helpful
  • Surgical scraping of the infected tissues
  • A part of the sesamoid bone or one of them may be surgically extracted
  • A bone graft may be used in case of a fracture in any of the sesamoid bones

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