It can be difficult to understand that some of the smallest bones in the body – the sesamoid bones – could possibly cause so much pain when you have sesamoiditis. In fact, not only do you have pain, but you can have cramping in the foot that’s affected and calluses can start to form. In some cases, there’s a sensation of heat and burning in the forefoot, too.
If you’re a dancer, sesamoid pain can prevent you from dancing, and that could interfere with your livelihood. If you’re an athlete, the sesamoid pain could cause an awful lot of pain every time you flex your big toe, due to the location of these two small bones about the size of beans or smaller on the bottom of your metatarsal for the big toe.
Even if you’re not athletically inclined, you could end up traumatizing these small bones and have sesamoid pain just by being in a situation where your big toe is forced upwards quickly.
The sesamoid bones are subject to trauma; in fact, landing on the foot wrong with all your weight could be enough to traumatize them and even fracture them. The big problem with any trauma occurring to these bones is that they’re difficult to heal due to lack of blood supply.
Doctors sometimes can’t prevent the death of these small bones, a condition called avascular necrosis. They recommend decreasing inflammation to the area where the sesamoid pain is emanating from and may write you a prescription medication for painkillers, anti-inflammatories or give you cortisone injections. Some will strap the big toes to immobilize it.
However, there is something else you can do to decrease the sesamoid pain. You can use orthotic insoles just as a podiatrist would recommend them. The way that podiatrists think about foot problems is different than how a medical doctor would think about them. A medical doctor will think of injections and prescription medications that numb the pain but a podiatrist will think of what needs to be done to initiate the healing with orthotic devices that make walking more comfortable while you’re healing.
Because the sesamoid bones are located on the ball of the foot area, the most sensible thing to do is to use a specially designed pad that can relieve some of the pressure. These are called metatarsal pads and they’re used for a number of conditions that affect the ball of the foot – for example, Morton’s neuroma, which is an irritation of the nerves in the ball of the foot, and pain in the ball of the feet from walking too long in high heels.
Different companies make metatarsal pads so you just have to try one and see how it works for you. There’s the Spenco Gel Ball of Foot Cushion that literally adds a circular area of gel to lessen the impact of every step taken on the ball of the foot. This one sells for under $10.
Sof Sole Gel Ball-of-Foot Insole is lightweight and fits in any type of shoe while cushioning the sesamoid bones and preventing your foot from sliding forward during walking, which increases sesamoid pain. Take a look at it here. It’s the same price as the Spenco Gel Ball of Foot Cushion.
Powerstep Metatarsal Cushion Pads look different than the previous two and use Poron urethane foam instead of gel for the cushioning power. These are designed for the right and the left feet, and are slightly more expensive than the Spenco Gel Ball of Foot Cushion but still under $10.
You don’t have to have sesamoid pain that’s as bad as it is now. By cushioning the area like a podiatrist would do, you can reduce direct pressure on the sensitive and sore bones. Try these and see what kind of good results you’ll get.