A sesamoid is a bone embedded in a tendon. Sesamoids are typically found at several places within the body including two small pea shaped bones located within the tendon underneath the big toe joint. Acting as a pulley for tendons, the sesamoids help the big toe move normally and provide leverage when the big toe joint pushes off during gait. The sesamoids also serve as a weight-bearing surface for the first metatarsal joint, absorbing the weight placed on the ball of the foot when running, walking and jumping.
Injuries are often usually associated with activities requiring increased pressure on the ball of the foot, such as running, basketball, football, tennis, ballet or any other activity which requires high pressures to be placed at the forefoot. In addition, people with high arches are at risk for developing sesamoid problems. Wearing of high-heeled shoes can also be an aggravating factor. Hyperextension of the great toe may result in the soft tissue surrounding the sesamoids to be injured, also the sesamoids can be fractured from repetitive stresses or it may simply be an overuse syndrome.
Non-surgical treatment for sesamoid injuries of the foot may include padding to cushion the affected area, foot orthotics placed within a shoe to balance and offload the pressures, immobilization or, steroid injections. Ask your doctor which is right for you.