Sesamoiditis is inflammation of the sesamoid bones, often arising from overuse, injury or conditions like repetitive stress on the forefoot, leading to inflammation and discomfort.

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Sesamoiditis is a common condition that affects the sesamoid bones in the big toe. The sesamoid bones are small bones that play a crucial role in stabilising the big toe joint. When these bones become inflamed, it can cause pain and discomfort in the ball of the foot.

Causes of Sesamoiditis

Sesamoiditis is one of the most common sesamoid-related problems; it occurs when the sesamoids become inflamed, affecting the surrounding tissues. This inflammation may cause intense pain below the first metatarsal joint in the ball of the foot.

Recurrent stress on the sesamoids often results in injury to the bone, tendon and surrounding joint tissues. Turf toe, a sprain in the big toe joint caused by excessive upward bending, is one such injury that may occur.

Repetitive or forceful impact can also lead to sesamoid fractures, osteoarthritis, or osteonecrosis. Contributing factors include:

  • Overuse of the big toe joint
  • Injuries to the big toe joint
  • Abnormal foot structure, such as high arches or bunions


A persistent ache or sharp pain directly under the big toe joint, in the ball of the foot. This pain can gradually worsen, making even walking uncomfortable or even impossible.

  • Pain in the ball of the foot, especially when walking or running
  • Swelling and tenderness in the area of the sesamoid bones
  • Difficulty moving the big toe
  • Numbness or tingling in the big toe

How is  diagnosed?

Typically, x-rays are used to detect and confirm the diagnosis in cases of bone fracture. However, due to the sesamoid bones' which are small in size and the potential for multiple different diagnosis, diagnostic ultrasound imaging may be  for a more precise diagnosis and to assess the condition's severity.

There are a few home remedies that can help relieve pain associated with sesamoiditis, such as:

  • Resting
  • Applying ice compression
  • Cushion the sole of the big toe
  • Over-the-counter pain medications for temporary relief

If symptoms persist beyond three days, seeking consultation with a foot specialist or podiatrist is recommended.

How can Sesamoiditis be managed?

If left unaddressed, the condition may progress to a point where surgery becomes the best and only option. To avoid this outcome, do consult a foot specialist or podiatrist for non-invasive, conservative management aimed at relieving pain and preventing further deterioration.

At East Coast Podiatry, our podiatrists conduct comprehensive biomechanical and musculoskeletal assessment of the lower limb for an accurate diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your podiatrist will implement a strategic approach to minimise complications, such as foot disability, helping to maintain a good quality of life and improving functional mobility.

We offer a range of solutions for sesamoiditis, including extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF), custom foot orthotics, when necessary, surgical removal of the sesamoid bones.

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Common Symptoms

Pain underneath the big toe in the ball of the feet
Aching and pain when walking or standing
Pain worsens when the toe is bent
Difficulty in bending the big toe

How It Looks Like

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Related Conditions


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Came to East coast podiatry for foot pain. Was diagnosed with Sesamoid fracture. Podiatrist Ms Georgina and Ms Millie are extremely patient and professional. This is my first time visiting a podiatrist and I was very impressed with how the entire diagnosis and treatment was carried out! Highly recommended!

Asher Ang

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An ankle specialist, such as a podiatrist, will be able to perform a thorough foot assessment using diagnostic tools, such as a musculoskeletal diagnostic ultrasound to determine the source of your ankle pain. If surgery is required, your podiatrist will refer you to a trusted foot and ankle doctor for surgical solutions.

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