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Mitchell Wachtel D.P.M.

Sesamoiditis Treatment for a Painful Big Toe Joint

If you have big toe pain while running, you may be suffering from a condition known as sesamoiditis. This is an inflammation of the tendons near the sesamoid bones. Sesamoiditis treatment is usually fairly conservative. However, surgical methods may become necessary in extreme cases. Although your toe is a small part of your body, it can still be very painful if the bones in the joint become inflamed or fracture.

What is Sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis - Common Running InjuryThe sesamoids are tiny bones in your feet near your big toe. They act as pulleys, providing a smooth surface for the tendons to slide over. They also assist in weight bearing, which is a very important task. They absorb shock in the toe joint when you are walking, running, or jumping. Sesamoiditis occurs when the sesamoids and nearby tendons become inflamed from overuse. The pain is usually dull and can occur when doing certain activities or sports.

Treatment Options

Usually sesamoiditis treatment uses conservative methods. First of all you should discontinue the activity that is aggravating the pain. Rest your feet and apply ice to your toes to help ease any swelling that may be occurring. Change your shoes to ones with lower heels and plenty of room for your toes to move. You can also use toe pads or another type of orthotic device to help with the pain. In some cases you might benefit from taping the big toe in a slightly downward position. A steroid shot can also help with inflammation and swelling. In more severe cases, you might need to consider surgery. This typically involves the removal of one or both of the sesamoid bones.

Other Sesamoid Injuries

While sesamoiditis might be a common injury, there are other types of injury that occur to these tiny bones. Like any other bone it can fracture. An acute fracture is caused by trauma or impact to the foot; there is immediate pain. A chronic fracture is usually a very small crack with pain that can come and go. Both types of fractures need time to heal by immobilizing the toe. You may need a cast or a splint to keep the toe in place.

Turf toe is another type of sesamoid injury. It occurs in the tissue near the big toe joint and happens as a result of your toe being pushed outside of its normal range of motion. You might hear a popping sound and feel immediate pain in the big toe. Only rest, ice, and taping your toe will heal this condition.

Seeking Medical Help

When you suffer from a toe condition it can be very painful and frustrating. The bones in your toes may be tiny, but toe pain while running can be a big issue. If you suspect you have damaged the sesamoid bones in your big toe, call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, at (888) 616-2512 or fill out our online contact page to schedule an appointment for sesamoiditis treatment. We have three Massachusetts office locations: North Andover, Lowell, and Haverhill. We can help your feet get back to feeling normal and healthy again.

Photo Credit: mapichai via freedigitalphotos.net

Dr. Mitchell Wachtel
Dr. Mitchell Wachtel is a North Andover podiatrist who specializes in the treatment of the feet and ankles.