The small things in life are often so much greater than the bigger things. A walk in a park, watching a sunset, a good book on a sunny porch, and hearing a child’s laughter can outdo even the biggest events. Sometimes, small things can have a big impact, even in your feet. There are two tiny bones in your feet called the sesamoids that have a mighty job. When an injury occurs from too much stress, the condition is called sesamoiditis.
Do You Have Ball of Foot Pain?
The most common symptom associated with sesamoiditis is pain in the ball of the foot. The sesamoids are two pea-sized bones embedded in a tendon in the joint area underneath the big toe. They act like a lever, allowing smooth movement of the joint. They’re alsocrucial in distributing weight when you use your toe to push off the ground. There are two types of problems that can develop with small, but important, bones: inflammation and fracture.
In some cases, the symptoms develop gradually over time. Have you increased your level of activity lately? Often times, the symptoms of this condition develop after increasing the speed, duration, or level of intensity of your regular or sports-related activities. Repeated stress and pressure on the ball of the foot can irritate the tissues around the bones, causing them to become inflamed. Those who are more at risk of developing sesamoiditis include dancers, baseball catchers, and runners. If you have high arches and tend to land on the balls of your feet while running, you may be particularly at risk.
When these bones have to absorb constant stress and trauma, discomfort will be felt in the center of the ball of the foot near the big toe. You may find that your big toe joint feels stiff and difficult to move up and down. You may have a fracture when the pain in this area is immediate and intense. If you ever experience this, seek medical attention right away. A break, even in a tiny sesamoid bone, can develop into a much more serious problem without the right treatment.
Eliminating the Pain
The good news is that this condition can be treated very successfully using non-invasive, conservative methods. Dr. Tejas Pandya will consider your symptoms and complete a thorough evaluation to determine the exact reason for that problems you’re experiencing. If sesamoiditis is confirmed, the first step will be to eliminate the irritation that caused the discomfort in the first place. Rest, icing and anti-inflammatory medications are usually the first steps in the treatment process.
A switch to flat shoes and the placement of metatarsal pads on your feet will relieve extra pressure on the area. It may be helpful to tape the big toe joint to allow for proper healing. If the pain persists we may suggest a steroid injection to reduce swelling. It may take several weeks for the healing process to take its course, but with adequate rest and the right treatment you will be able to gradually return to your normal sports and activities.
We are here to help, so don’t wait to seek treatment if you have pain in the ball of your foot. Delaying treatment for significant injuries, like a fracture, will only make things worse. Contact Capital District Podiatry in Troy, NY, at (518) 273-0053 for an appointment with Dr. Tejas Pandya.