Do have a pain in the ball of your foot? Whether it’s constant or it comes and goes based on what you’re doing or the shoes you wear, it’s nothing to be ignored. At Gentle Professional Foot Care we often find that the cause of this type of pain is an injury to the sesamoids—two tiny bones that are imbedded in the tendons at the base of your big toe. These bones can suffer an acute trauma or injury or develop a condition due to overuse and excess pressure being applied to the ball of the foot. Here are three possible injuries to the sesamoids:
- Sesamoiditis—this is an inflammation of the bones and surrounding tendons. It is characterized by a dull, ongoing pain that feels like it is coming from underneath the big toe. Usually repetitive pounding of the feet, like the kind that comes from running, football, tennis or basketball, are the root cause of the inflammation.
- Turf toe—when you push off with your big toe using excessive force or your toe jams into the ground and the rest of your body continues forward, this results in an extreme over extension of the toe and damage to the soft tissue around the sesamoids and the toe joint. This happens frequently to athlete’s who play on a turf field and hence the name.
- Fracture—a severe trauma to the big toe due to impact or a heavy blow can cause a sesamoid bone to break. Stress fractures are also possible with repetitive stress and overuse.
Diagnosis and Treatment
In order to get relief from the pain in the bottom of your foot, you will need to see our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, to determine which condition you are suffering from. The foot doctor will want to assess the range of motion of your toe and may ask to watch you walk or examine the wear patterns in your shoes. In addition, he may order x-rays or other imaging studies to get a better picture of the sesamoid area.
Once the diagnosis is made, the foot doctor will determine the best treatment for you. A combination of rest and immobilization to give the foot a chance to heal and pain relievers will bring relatively quick relief. Going forward, the podiatrist may recommend physical therapy, custom orthotics or other measure to remove pressure from the sesamoid area and prevent future injuries.