What is sesamoiditis?
Sesamoiditis is often described as a pain at the front or ball of the foot, particularly under the big toe. Pain experienced is charaterised by a sharp pain, an ache or soreness. This pain is usually elicited during the ‘toe-off’ phase of one’s walking cycle. Engaging in activity typically increases the pain till an intense throbbing.
A sesamoid is a bone that resembles the appearance of a sesame seed, hence its name. Two sesamoid bones are located under the big toe with the function of stabilizing the foot. The tendons which run through these two bones can be easily aggravated with a rubbing movement causing inflammation and irritation to these structures. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explain that ballerinas, baseball catchers and runners are more likely to develop this condition. Wearing high heeled shoes, poorly fitted footwear and high arched foot-type are also factors which can lead to this problem.
Sesamoid pain can be chronic and debilitating. First-line treatment for this condition is undertaken by conservative measures in most cases. This is not an easy condition to treat as the feet bear the weight of an entire body. Preventing the problem can be carried out by making lifestyle changes. Shoes with a higher heel will put more pressure on the front of the foot. Wearing low-heeled shoes with firm, rubber soles are ideal. Reducing activities as mentioned above will reduce the tendency of developing this problem. If unable to stop specific activities, ensure the appropriate shoes for your activity and foot posture are worn. Shock-absorbance, the right structure and regular replacement of shoes are necessary when choosing footwear. Size of a pair of shoes is also one to consider, not only in length, but in width as well. Wearing a narrow pointed shoe if one has a broad forefoot will aggravate the problem.