Sesamoiditis is a painful inflammation of the sesamoid bones located just behind the big toe. These small, bean-sized bones function as a fulcrum for flexor tendons that are activated when the big toe is bent up or down. They are engaged with any activity that requires push-off on the ball of the foot.

The most common causes are related to activities that place constant pressure on the ball of the foot. These can include physical activities like running, lateral movements (for example in basketball or tennis), hiking or climbing. Occupational cases usually involve prolonged periods of standing or weight bearing, as in construction work. Finally, this problem also commonly affects women who frequently wear high heels, as this places a lot of pressure on the area of the sesamoids.

Treatment of sesamoiditis is focused on relieving the symptoms of pain, swelling, bruising and stiffness. Your podiatrist may recommend taking a break from physical activities, changing footwear, RICE treatment, and the use of anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). A steroid injection may be administered to quickly relieve swelling.