An interesting fact about the sesamoid bones that separates them from others is that they are not directly connected to any other bone and float freely. They are surrounded by muscle or connected to tendons and ligaments. The largest sesamoid bone in your body is the kneecap. There are also two much smaller, pea-sized sesamoid bones located on the bottom of the forefoot right behind your big toe.
These bones help to bear the weight and stress of walking, and raise the bones of the big toe, while also helping the tendons to move efficiently. Not only can the sesamoid bones themselves break from stress, but also the soft tissue around them can become inflamed or bruised causing considerable pain and discomfort in a condition called sesamoiditis. Since sesamoiditis has similar symptoms to Morton’s neuroma, it’s important to see your foot doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of sesamoid bone injury include:
- Pain and discomfort in the ball of your foot
- Pain and discomfort when trying to bend or straighten the big toe
- Swelling and bruising
In diagnosing a problem with the sesamoid bones, your podiatrist will perform a physical exam to determine whether you can move your toe upwards without an increase in pain. A fractured sesamoid bone usually shows up on an x-ray, or your doctor may order an MRI bone scan. Surgery is rarely required, and may involve the complete removal of the sesamoid bone.
Treatments for sesamoid bone issues in the foot may include:
- Rest and ice and elevate the foot to relieve swelling and pressure.
- Take oral Ibuprofen or other Nsaids for pain.
- Wear shoes with more cushioning in the sole.
- Use pads for cushioning and isolation.
- Our doctor may tape the big toe to isolate movement and to provide for better plantar fascia flexion.
- Steroids may reduce inflammation.
- Orthotic inserts can be used to decrease pressure points that are causing pain.
If you need help with a sesamoid bone issue, the foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY, have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems, and will be happy to assist. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631-549-8637) and Briarwood, NY (929-336-4523).