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On the ball of the foot, there are two bones underneath the big toe call sesamoids. The sesamoids in the forefoot also assist with weightbearing and help elevate the bones of the great toe. Like other bones, sesamoids can break (fracture). Additionally, the tendons surrounding the sesamoids can become irritated or inflamed. This is called sesamoiditis and is a form of tendinitis. It is common among ballet dancers, runners and baseball catchers.


Treatment is generally nonoperative. However, if nonsurgical treatments fail, your physician may recommend surgery to remove the sesamoid bone.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs, such as ketoprofen, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen (Aleve), may ease pain and inflammation.

Initial treatments may involve resting and protecting the sore tendons/bones. This may require the need to immobilize your foot and lower leg in a short-leg walking boot for two to four weeks. Use a felt cushioning pad to relieve stress.

Next, physical therapy is used to strengthen the tendon.  The therapist may use heat, ice, and ultrasound treatments to reduce pain and swelling. 

A steroid (cortisone) injection may to reduce inflammation, swelling and pain.

To find out more information on Sesamoiditis, please visit the Orthopaedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.


Sara Zickuhr Designsist, south bay ortho