Forefoot Pain in Runners, Dancers and Others Might be Sesamoiditis
A Monthly Foot Fact from Foot.com
Runners, dancers and anyone whose physical activity puts continuous pressure on the forefoot should be aware of a common ailment called sesamoiditis, which causes pain in the ball-of-the-foot.
“The sesamoids function as a pulley, like the kneecap, increasing the leverage of the tendons controlling the toe. Every time you push off against the toe, the sesamoids are involved, and with heavy activity they can eventually become irritated, even fractured,” Dr. Belyea says.
The most common symptom of sesamoiditis is pain in the ball-of-the-foot, especially on the medial, or inner, side. The condition can typically be distinguished from other forefoot conditions by its gradual onset. Pain usually begins as a mild ache and increases gradually as the aggravating activity is continued.
“The pain can build up to an intense throbbing,” Dr. Belyea says. “In most cases, though, there is little or no bruising or redness.”
Minor cases of sesamoiditis call for a strict period of rest, along with the use of a modified shoe or foot orthotic to reduce pressure on the affected area. A metatarsal pad placed away from the joint can redistribute weight-bearing pressure to other parts of the forefoot.
If the patient does continue to work out, Dr. Belyea recommends applying ice to the area for 10 to 15 minutes after exercise, or after any activity that aggravates the area.
For more information on sesamoiditis and other foot conditions, visit www.Foot.com.