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Sesamoid Pain

Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa

Podiatrists & Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Ankeny serving greater Des Moines, IA

Sesamoid pain can strike at any time, making routine tasks both painful and difficult. At Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa in Ankeny, Iowa, expert podiatrists, Paul Dayton, DPM, MS, and Mindi Dayton, DPM, MHA have years of experience diagnosing and treating sesamoid pain. If you or a loved one is suffering, request an appointment today by calling the office or clicking the online booking tool.

Sesamoid Pain Q & A

What is sesamoid pain?

Sesamoids are a type of bone that connects to muscles via tendons. There are sesamoids in several joints throughout your body, including your knees and big toes.

Sesamoid pain, or sesamoiditis, occurs when the tendons attached to your sesamoids become irritated or inflamed. Sesamoid pain is especially common in athletes such as runners and dancers. It usually develops if you strain or overwork your tendons.

What are the symptoms of sesamoid pain?

The symptoms of sesamoid pain vary from person to person and depend on the underlying cause. Telltale signs of sesamoid pain include:

  • Pain under the ball of the foot
  • Pain that builds gradually
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Difficulty moving your toe

If you’re suffering from sesamoid pain, you might also experience a “clicking” or “popping” sensation when you stand up or take a step.

What causes sesamoid pain?

Sesamoid pain can occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s a result of general wear-and-tear or trauma. For example, if you wear high heels or shoes that fit poorly, they might crowd your toes and cause your tendons to become inflamed.

You’re also at risk of sesamoid pain if you play sports or work out regularly. Some sports, like running, ballet, and basketball, require you to put lots of pressure on the ball of your foot. Over time, these activities may cause sesamoid pain.

How is sesamoid pain diagnosed?

To diagnose sesamoid pain, your Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa provider physically examines your foot and ankle. Your doctor carefully presses on the ball of your foot to feel for areas of tenderness and moves your toes in different directions. If your toes have a limited range of motion, it’s probably due to sesamoiditis.

If necessary, your doctor might also order a series of X-rays or a bone scan to get a closer look at the bones and joints in your feet. If your doctor suspects an injury to a tendon or other soft tissue, they might recommend an ultrasound or MRI.

How is sesamoid pain treated?

Whenever possible, the team at Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa uses conservative measures of care to treat sesamoid pain. If you have a mild case of sesamoid pain, your doctor might recommend ice, rest, and elevation. It’s also important to avoid activities that place pressure on the ball of your foot.

If your pain persists or gets worse, you might benefit from corticosteroid injections, medical grade over the counter inserts, or or custom-made orthotics. In severe cases, surgical intervention to remove the sesamoid bone might be necessary, but this is only a last resort.

Don’t let sesamoid pain keep you sidelined. Request an appointment at Foot & Ankle Center of Iowa today by calling the office or clicking the online scheduling tool.


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