22 May Preventing and Managing Sesamoiditis
Sesamoiditis is the name given to the condition associated with inflammation around the jelly bean-sized sesamoid bones in the feet. The sesamoids are located under the foot and just behind the big toes. Their function is to act as a lever and allow easy gliding of the flexor tendons which allow the big toe to bend downwards.
The sesamoid bones may become inflamed due to the fact that they are located at the ball of the foot which is where most of the body’s weight is exerted when standing. As a result, these bones are prone to pressure exposure and thus trauma.
Factors that may increase the risk of sesamoiditis include:
- The size of the sesamoid bones.
- The particular structure of the affected individual’s foot.
- The patient’s weight.
- The types of shoes worn by the individual.
- What physical activities the patient takes part in.
Signs and Symptoms
Sesamoiditis may present in the following ways:
- Pain that may be described as ranging from a dull ache to a sharp or stabbing sensation when walking.
- Bending the toe upwards causes the pain to increase in intensity.
- There may be redness and/or swelling over the affected area.
- The presentation of the problem can occur gradually over a period of time. Eventually, the pain becomes severe enough for the patient to seek medical attention.
- Increased pain when walking on harder surfaces such as wooden floors or tiles and improvement when stepping on carpeted areas, for example.
A complication of sesamoiditis, if enough pressure has been exerted onto the bone, is that the bone(s) may sustain a fracture.
Looking at the potential risk factors for sesamoiditis, one can see where attention needs to be given in order to reduce the chances of developing the condition. Suggestions for individuals would include:
- Losing weight through an energy-controlled diet and physical activities that don’t result in too much weight-bearing by the feet.
- Wearing the correct shoes.
- Not performing activities that result in stretching of the flexor tendons of the big toes.
If prevention guidelines are ineffective and patients do develop sesamoiditis then the condition is managed conservatively and as follows:
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen are given to help reduce inflammation and thus the pain experienced by the patient.
- Strapping the big toe to help limit upward movement of the digit.
- Wearing appropriate shoes such as those with flat heels and a cushioned sole to help relieve pressure off of the foot.
- Doctors can also infiltrate the affected area with a local anesthetic and steroid medication to help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Orthotists can also help these patients by applying an off-loading cast or by supplying the patient with crutches in order to help the patient stay off the affected foot.
Oasis Foot and Ankle Center
Oasis Foot and Ankle Center is a medical facility that specializes in the care and management of foot-related conditions such as sesamoiditis.
The center has orthotic specialists and medical doctors who perform the mentioned therapies for the benefit of affected patients.