Sesamoid injury - Foot Injuries

A sesamoid is a bone which is located inside a tendon; they facilitate movement. In the foot, there are two sesamoids; these are located in the ball of the foot on the underside of the big toe.

Types of injury

There are three types of sesamoid injury in the foot; these include turf toe (when the toe is bent upwards), a fractured sesamoid (when the bone is partially or fully broken) and sesamoiditis (when the sesamoid becomes inflamed).

Causes of sesamoid injuries

Turf toe is usually caused when the toe remains stationary while the rest of the body travels in a forward direction; this is particularly common on artificial playing surfaces. A fracture may be acute or progressive; acute fractures are commonly caused by injury or trauma, while progressive fractures are caused by repetitive actions over a prolonged period of time; this is also known as a stress fracture. Sesamoiditis is caused by severe inflammation of both the sesamoid bones and the tendons that surround them; it is commonly a result of overuse.

Symptoms of sesamoid injuries

Common symptoms include pain in the affected area or throughout the big toe joint; sesamoiditis is often identified by the sensation of a dull ache under the big toe, while turf toe and fractures usually cause more acute pain. Other symptoms include a restricted range of movement, swelling and bruising.

Treating a sesamoid injury

Surgery is considered a last resort for sesamoid injuries; initially, a number of other methods will be tried. In many cases, the injury will heal quickly with the help of prolonged periods of rest, medication to control swelling and pain and protective strapping or taping. Steroid injections may also be used to control inflammation and pain. In some cases, it may be beneficial to wear an orthotic device; this will ensure the foot is correctly positioned and the weight is distributed evenly (this will reduce pressure on the ball of the foot).

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