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The forefoot has two sesamoids that support the big toe and the tendons in the foot. These bones are small, about the size of a tooth, but they can cause inflammation and pain if they are fractured or irritating the tendons in the foot (sesamoiditis). Our orthopedic foot specialists at DOCS Health offer sesamoid fracture and sesamoiditis treatment at our medical center in Los Angeles.

While most bones are connected to other bones by joints, sesamoids are not. These bones are supported by soft tissues and do not attach to other bones. The two small sesamoids in the foot are located under and on either side of the big toe. These small bones help elevate the big toe and provide a small surface (like a pulley) for tendons to move across. When the tendon becomes irritated by the sesamoids due to stress or fractures, the inflammation and pain are referred to as sesamoiditis, a form of tendonitis. This is most common in athletes and dancers who run or jump extensively. Symptoms may include:

  • Increasing pain under the big toe (immediate pain can occur with a sesamoid fracture)
  • Difficulty or discomfort bending and straightening the large toe
  • Swelling
  • Bruising

Diagnosis through x-rays and a physical exam can determine whether sesamoiditis, a sesamoid fracture or both are causing the symptoms.

Foot Tendon Pain Relief

Treatment for sesamoiditis and sesamoid fractures generally do not require surgery. Rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and immobilization are key components of treatment. A brace or specialized padding/support around the toe may be recommended. In most cases, a full recovery can be achieved, relieving foot tendon pain.

If you have foot tendon pain under the big toe, you may have sesamoiditis or a sesamoid fracture. For diagnosis and sesamoiditis treatment, contact us at DOCS Health in Los Angeles.