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Symptoms of Sesamoiditis

A sesamoid is a bone that connects to a tendon or muscle instead of another bone. The most common sesamoids are the patella (kneecap) and two bones found under the forefoot. The sesamoids in the foot help to provide the foot with weight-bearing support. Unfortunately, just like another bone, sesamoids can fracture or become inflamed. An inflamed sesamoid is known as sesamoiditis and it’s most often found in athletes.

What are the symptoms of sesamoiditis?

So, how do you differentiate pain from sesamoiditis from other causes of pain? You could be dealing with an inflamed sesamoid in the foot if you are experiencing:

  • Pain at the ball of the foot near the big toe
  • Pain when bending or straightening the big toe
  • Swelling
  • Pain that comes up gradually

Pain that comes on suddenly may be a sign of a fractured sesamoid rather than sesamoiditis, which is a form of tendinitis. You may experience pain when putting weight on the foot.

How is sesamoiditis treated?

The good news is that this inflammatory condition can be treated with rest and home care designed to ease the inflamed tendon or muscle. At-home care for sesamoiditis looks like:

  • Avoiding any activities that put pressure on the foot
  • Taking a pain reliever such as ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling
  • Wearing supportive shoes with ample cushioning
  • Applying ice to the foot for 10-15 minutes every few hours
  • Avoiding shoes with pointed toes or high heels

It can take up to six weeks for sesamoiditis pain and inflammation to go away. If you are dealing with severe pain or swelling, or if you have trouble walking, then you must see a podiatrist right away. In more severe cases your doctor may recommend bracing the foot or using steroid injections to target unresponsive and more serious inflammation.


If you are experiencing severe or persistent foot pain, you must seek podiatry care from a qualified foot and ankle specialist. Foot pain should not go ignored. Call your podiatrist today. 

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