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~ Dr. Phil Pinsker

 

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853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA, 15301

Podiatrist - Washington
853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 225-7410
(724) 225-9469 - fax

When the Little Things Count

We have all heard the saying about how it is the little things in life that count. This sentence proves very true when talking about two tiny but very important bones in your feet called the sesamoids. These little bones perform a very big job, and when they endure more stress than they can handle they can cause nagging pain in the ball of your foot. The resulting condition is called sesamoiditis.

A Form of Tendonitis

The sesamoid bones are two of only three bones in your body that are not connected to other bones. They are attached to tendons and can be found in the ball of your foot near the big toe. The sesamoids act like pulleys. They are embedded in the tendon that connects your big toe to the first metatarsal bone, and they act as a support point when your foot pushes off the ground.

Your big toe and the ball of your foot enable almost all locomotion and take on a great amount of stress. Over time, repetitive impact and overuse can strain the tendon surrounding the sesamoids and the whole area can become irritated and inflamed. This is what we call sesamoiditis. Activities that put a lot of pressure on the ball of the foot can cause this type of injury. These may include running, football, basketball, gymnastics, ballet and tennis.

The pain associated with this condition tends to come on gradually, and it can come and go depending on the activity in which you are involved or the type of shoes you wear. Common symptoms you may experience include pain in the ball of the foot or under the big toe, swelling, bruising, and difficulty bending or straightening the big toe. Aches and pains will tend to worsen if you continue to use your foot, and if a sharp pain comes on suddenly it is possible that a fracture in one of the sesamoids has occurred.

How to Treat This Foot Pain

The good news is that surgery is generally not necessary to treat sesamoiditis. Relieving the pressure on the affected tendon is typically the first line of defense when treating this injury. A period of rest is most often necessary to give time for the area to heal. Avoiding all activities that would aggravate or cause further damage to your foot will be necessary as well. To help relieve the pain associated with this condition, we often use anti-inflammatory medications and icing to reduce swelling and inflammation in the tendon. Wearing soft-soled shoesand extra cushioning can also provide relief. Padding, taping, custom orthotics and physical therapy are also very effective treatment options that can relieve tension and pain in the foot. Immobilization in a cast or boot may be required in more severe cases, and surgery is left as an option only if all conservative methods fail to provide the relief a patient needs.

We Are Here to Help

When you are feeling pain or discomfort in the ball of your foot, don’t ignore it. Continuing to work, walk, and play on an injured foot will only make it worse and prevent it from healing. Get the problem solved quickly by contacting our Washington, PA office at (724) 225-7410.  Dr. Philip Pinsker has extensive experience in treating sesamoiditis and will prescribe a tailored, effective treatment plan to alleviate your pain and get you back on your feet.