Anyone who is dealing with chronic and intense pain in the ball of their foot may be suffering from a case of sesamoiditis. This is a relatively common condition that results from the inflammation and irritation of the tiny sesamoid bones and surrounding tissues and ligaments that run from the ball of the foot to the big toe. What this means in layman’s terms is chronic and intense pain in the ball of one or both feet.
There are many reasons why this condition can occur, some of which are preventable, others that are not. Sesamoiditis can be caused by a sudden increase in the amount of exercise you are doing, particularly with regard to high impact activities such as running. So, for example, if you are training for that local mini-marathon, and have thus really upped your physical activity, and suddenly you start to experience a lot of pain in the balls of your feet, this could well be the problem. Another common cause of this foot condition is to do with the basic structure of the foot – which is not something we can really do much about. Having bony feet puts you at more risk for sesamoiditis as you have less foot padding to absorb the shock your feet must take with each step.
However, this information shouldn’t depress you into thinking that you are stuck with this pain forever. There are a number of solid and proven ways that you can manage the pain associated with the condition, all in the comfort of your own home.
Rest and Take Something for the Pain
Especially when an injury to the sesamoid bones is the result of an increase in exercise, rest really is the best medicine. The sesamoid bones can easily become inflamed, as can the surrounding tissues, and each step you take will only make it worse. It is vital that you take a few days away from activity, put the feet up and take rest to allow the inflammation to go down. By taking NSAID’s such as Ibuprofen or Advil, you can also help to reduce the inflammation, while also reducing the pain at the same time.
Ice the Sesamoids
Icing an injury that is a result of inflammation is one of the best ways to treat these types of injuries, and for health it is preferable to taking NSAID drugs, and sesamoiditis is no exception. Up to 4 times a day, ice the affected area for up to 15 minutes at a time. Not only will this help to reduce the inflammation of the affected area, but it will also provide some much needed pain relief.
Choose Flat Shoes
This is hardly ever a “best practice” recommendation, but while you are dealing with a bout of sesamoiditis, it can be helpful to wear flat shoes. While this is never good for the feet in the long-term, doing this in the short-term will allow you to obtain some pain relief when you cannot avoid walking, as the sesamoid bones will not be taking a lot less of the shock that they normally have to when wearing trainers or other highly cushioned and supportive shoes. However one of the best ways to prevent the condition from developing is to wear good quality sports shoes, and to replace them frequently as the cushioning breaks down, generally every 6 months if you run every day.
Wear an Orthotic Insole
This is one of the most cost effective ways of ensuring tat the condition does not become a problem in the first place, but also to help prevent any reoccurrence of an existing condition. Orthotic insoles correct the walking gait, biomechanically altering the stride to ensure that the bones and muscles are properly aligned, and the feet are properly cushioned. There are several excellent over the counter orthotic insoles to choose from, with Superfeet, Sorbothane, Orthaheel, Sof Sole, Powerstep and Spenco being some of the best choices.