Have You Got Pain Beneath the Ball of Your First Toe? Is It Stopping You From Running? It Could Be Sesamoiditis!

It can take some of us a LOT of willpower to make the commitment to get up at 6am (or earlier!) and go for that run – especially while it’s still so chilly out there! So the last thing you need while you’re out there braving the cold is for the ball of your foot to start hurting and stop you in your tracks. One common cause of forefoot pain beneath the big toe joint is called sesamoiditis.

What is sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis describes the inflammation around two small bones that are located beneath the big toe joint, aptly named the sesamoids. Unusually for bones, the sesamoids are not directly attached to the bones around the big toe but are embedded within a tendon that runs beneath the bottom of the big toe. The sesamoids work to strengthen and support the tendon they are embedded in (Flexor Hallucis Brevis) in fulfilling its role during every step you take!

What causes sesamoiditis?

A number of causes can result in sesamoiditis, with the common denominator being an excess load and pressure in the area of the sesamoids. These include both biomechanical factors (the way your foot functions) and traumatic factors (direct blows/injuries). These can range from having your foot stood on or dropping something on your foot, excess force through the big toe joint, hyperextension of the big toe and generally abnormal foot biomechanics and function. The sesamoids already take on a big load as the foot pushes off the ground.

How do I know if I have sesamoiditis?

Symptoms of sesamoiditis may include:

  • Pain beneath the big toe joint on standing and walking
  • Pain on bending the big toe upwards (dorsiflexion)
  • Swelling and redness at the big toe joint
  • Gradual onset of pain
  • Immediate pain if there is a sesamoid fracture

What should I do?

Treating sesamoiditis begins with reducing the initial painful symptoms and then working to offload forces away from the sesamoids so they can recover. It’s important to remember that if the cause of the sesamoiditis is biomechanical, that is, due to abnormal foot function that overloaded the sesamoids, then it’s important to address and correct these abnormalities or the injury may occur again in the future.

If you’ve got pain in your feet or are worried you may be starting to develop some then don’t wait until it’s too late! Stop your pain before it worsens and prevents you from doing the things you love. Get in touch with our expert team at The Podiatrist today – we’ll get you back on track and feeling great!

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