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Sesamoiditis is an overuse injury that involves chronic, or long-term, inflammation of your sesamoid bones and the tendons that act on these bones. In most cases, a sudden and excessive upward bending force on your big toe causes sesamoiditis, although wearing high heels and experiencing certain types of foot trauma may also contribute to your sesamoiditis.

Conventional footwear plays an important role in aggravating your sesamoids and their surrounding structures. Shoes with tapered toe boxes and toe spring can cause the sesamoids to become dislocated, causing dysfunction. When your hallux, or big toe, is properly aligned with your first metatarsal bone, your sesamoids are also properly aligned and function as they're intended to.

Sesamoiditis commonly involves a dull pain under your big toe joint that fails to resolve over time. Sesamoiditis-related pain is usually intermittent, or comes and goes, and may be worse when wearing certain shoes or participating in certain activities.

Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with sesamoiditis include:

  • Pain focused under your big toe, on the ball of your foot
  • Pain in your affected area that develops gradually
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Impaired ability to bend or straighten your big toe
  • Injured or inflamed sesamoid bones can be difficult to heal, as you put almost continuous pressure on these structures every time you stand or walk. Conservative care methods may be helpful in resolving your sesamoiditis. Conservative treatment techniques include:

    Shoe Therapy: Footwear that allows proper toe splay can help. For footwear suggestions, see our list of recommended shoes. Toe splay can be enabled with our toe spacing device, Correct Toes.

  • Immobilization: Your affected foot may be placed in a cast or removable walking cast to help rest your injured or irritated tissues. Crutches can help reduce the amount of force on your sesamoids.
  • Padding: A special pad may be placed inside your shoe to help cushion your sesamoid bones. A metatarsal pad helps return the fat pad in the ball of your foot to a place where it will protect your sesamoids.
  • Physical Therapy (PT): PT is an important treatment measure for this health problem, especially following immobilization. Range-of-motion exercises and ultrasound therapy are among the most commonly used PT modalities for this health purpose.
  • Dr. Hardy's Toronto Foot Clinic, Academy Foot and Orthotic Clinics is fully equipped to deal with all possible types of foot injuries and conditions.  All of our Foot Specialists are highly trained and educated and are totally dedicated to their patients.  If you or a loved one requires competent, honest advice or quality foot care and orthotics, please do not hesitate to contact us at 416-465-8737.


Toronto, ON Chiropodist Academy Foot and Orthotic


Across from the Broadview Subway Professional  Family  Foot  Care