Treating and curing Sesamoiditis

This post is probably not going to appeal to many folks, but I want to share my experiences in dealing with sesamoiditis. I am not a doctor or expert or anything smart like that. There is no Dr. SCB, so take my advise as a grain of sea salt. Just sharing some positive things that are working for me after searching the ‘net and finding a bunch of  Debbie downers and negativity. Sesamoiditis is treatable, curable and no, it’s not the end of the world if you get it.

A little background:

I have had sesamoiditis off and on in both feet for about a year and a half now. Sometimes both feet want to join the party at the same time, and other times they like to trade off being punks. Lovely.

Sure, you can find a lot of information on the internet about it, but I wanted more of a comprehensive understanding of how it develops, why it takes so dang long to heal, and a bunch of other intricate questions. The Type A in me has to understand how things work and why they happen. And yes, this makes my husband crazy in case you are wondering. 😉

The basics:

Sesamoiditis is a form of tendonitis. There are two tiny bones about the size of kernels of corn embedded in tendons under the big toe joint. They are not attached to other bones so they kinda float in tendons. Their primary function is to help raise and lower the big toe with each step.

Because of these bones are weight bearing, they are prone to becoming injured and/or inflamed and tough to heal. We are always using our feet, and the only break they get to repair & heal is while we sleep. Unfortunately healing takes a lot longer than that once they become irritated and inflamed. I have found some ways to help speed healing along and want to share them with you. But first, before we get into what has worked and is currently working for me, you should know a few things:

  • I am not a doctor or anything that comes close to one. These are all based on my personal experience and research. Please do your own research and investigating. These are just tips that will hopefully give you a good start at healing.
  • Do not believe everything you read on the internet. There are some really helpful sites, but I’ve also read a butt ton of sites/threads of Debbie Downers that make me shake my head. It is 100% possible to heal sesamoiditis. I don’t care what anyone else says. I am living proof of it.
  • We are only talking about sesamoiditis. Not a stress fracture, complete fracture or anything else.
  • To completely heal, you MUST be diligent and take healing seriously the entire time. You have to become more stubborn than the injury itself.

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Are you ready to heal some bones?? 

That sounded really awkward uh….good thing I never claimed to act mature.

My symptoms:

  • A lot of pain and stiffness in the ball of foot, big toe and joint. It feels like a pokey ball sticker that won’t come out. <-Technical terms, because we’re classy like that.
  • Unable to bend big toe up while walking. Therefore I walked with a gangsta limp, using the outside of my foot.
  • Swelling and redness especially when warm. For example right after a shower.
  • Symptoms will not go away on their own and get worse with time.

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Time reference:

According to my podiatrists (I saw 2 for this) it can take up to one full year to heal.

My response to them: Wanna bet?

I love a good challenge and I knew between my stubborn personality and my super amazing PT ninja, there was no way it was going to take that long. And I was right.

My most recent case and one that I am dealing with right now, was diagnosed on August 31, 2015 and started treatment the following day, September 1st. Since I have tried just about everything under the moon and stars. Heck, my husband even made custom orthotics that work a gazillion times better than the expensive ones my podiatrist gave me. (We’ll get to that soon.) I wanted to share some things that are helping. I will also update you guys as we work through this, kick it’s butt and learn how to prevent it from coming back.

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Here are my recommendations:

  • Take sesamoiditis very seriously. If you are not 100% committed to getting better, you won’t. This was learned the hard way on my part.
  • The first thing you need to focus on, is getting the inflammation down.
  • Ice both feet 2-3 times a day for 15-20 minutes. Rest them as much as possible. One of the reasons why it takes so long to heal is because the vessel leading to the sesamoid bones is so tiny. Any inflammation can restrict the blood flow which hinders healing and in worse cases the bones could actually die. Finding this out was enough for me to start taking sesamoiditis a lot more seriously.
  • After icing, elevate your feet above the heart to promote circulation. I did this for about 10 minutes 2-3 times a day. Sometimes I kicked my feet up on the back of the couch while watching tv or chilling out on my phone.
  • Take an anti inflammatory if you can tolerate it right away. I started with Advil for a few days, then asked my doctor for a more natural approach. He recommended turmeric, glucosamine & chondroitin and fish oil. When combined they become an excellent anti inflammatory. After a few days, the glucosamine & chondroitin upset my stomach, so I stopped taking it, but I’m still taking the others and they seem to be working.  
  • Gently massage the areas that are painful and tender to start breaking up scar tissue and bring circulation to the area. Gently stretch the big toe up & down to help with range of motion and relieve stiffness.
  • Calf stretches 2-3 times a day. The calf muscle is connected to the sesamoid tendons, and I have found huge pain relief stretching it out. 
  • Start physical therapy ASAP. This has helped me tremendously. There is no way I would have made the progress I have without it.
  • Find a supportive shoe with a wide toe box. I highly recommend Altra Running shoes. The Torin 1.5 are hands down my favorite, but I also love wearing the Intuition 2.0 at work. I’ve heard really good things about the Hoka One One brand, so maybe look into them as well.
  • Once the injury is stabilized & under control enough to move a bit, get into the pool. I’m not a swimmer, so I took up pool running. It brings down inflammation, increases circulation which flushes out the sesamoid area, helps with range of motion and you feel amazing. I do 30 minutes about 3-4 times a week.
  • We are busy and life moves on with or without pain, we have to keep moving. So you are going to want to sort of “float” the sesamoid area in your shoes. Dancers pads and Dr. Jills gel dancer pads were recommended by my podiatrist, but they actually caused more pain for me. They might work for you though! I also have Morton’s Neuroma which flared up when offsetting pressure to that area. My feet are just a barrel of fun.

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  • My husband is very handy and made a pair of orthotics to float the area using a YouTube video, a $10 memory foam mat & some foam glue from Home Depot. I kid you not!! The man is a freaking genius. When I put them in, I started to walk normal and pain free almost right away. Let me know if you would like a tutorial or video on how he made them.
  • Never go to bed with inflamed feet.
  • Never walk barefoot. For me, putting on shoes when I get out of bed was not practical, so I picked up a pair of stiff soled slippers at Target to wear around the house. I didn’t use them to clean or do anything other than to make coffee and sit in my chair which is far better than walking around barefoot.
  • Once you are on the mend, consult your physical therapist about starting a strength training program. Chances are, there might be a muscle imbalance/weakness that caused sesamoiditis. Of course there are other reasons this happens, so try to figure out what the cause was, so you can make changes to prevent it. For me, it was a combination of ‘skinny feet’ &  hip surgery right before Christmas. I never used crutches and walked funky so my feet overcompensated.

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My progress one month into treatment:

Right foot, which was the worse one is about 95% healed.

Left foot, which was fine until about 3 weeks ago is about 85% healed.

I met with my podiatrist today to add more padding to my custom orthotics. He LOVED the custom ones Mike made BTW! I wanted to make sure these are going to be a long term solution and he said after getting the custom orthotics dialed in, I should be fine. Crossing my fingers.

I hired a trainer to put together a strength training program for the next 90 days and there’s talk about getting back into RUNNING soon!! This makes my heart so happy but terrifies me at the same time. I’ve been injured for so long my confidence is pretty low. Good thing I love a challenge, right?!

If you have any other questions or tips, please feel free to reach out!! I hope this post gives other sesamoiditis suffers hope. 

**Edited: Update on Sesamoiditis as of January 2017 may be found here.**

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62 Comments on “Treating and curing Sesamoiditis

  1. Thank you for this post! You provided me with more information than any of the doctors I’ve visited. I would love to watch the YouTube video on how your hubby made your orthotics. I’ve been looking for something to wear on top of the stiff carbon plates that would offer some comfort. Like you, I never walk bare footed. It’s so painful. I put running shoes on as soon as I get up which is such a pain. I even had to size up to a wide width to accommodate by plates. I’m going to try more icing and see if that helps. I have been able to run/walk which has really made me happy. I’ll never be able to run like before but at least I can still run. You will have no problem getting back to running. You’ve been active and you’re in great shape. I can’t wait to hear about your first run!

    • You are so welcome Chris! Remind me again…you have sesamoiditis as well? Oh and I forgot to mention calf stretches are very important. Try to aim for 2-3 times a day. I’ll update the post about that soon.

      • Yes, unfortunately I have sesamoditis too. But the arthritis in both my big toes is my biggest nemesis. I’ve tried shots but they don’t work and I don’t much care for the option of fusing my joints so my toe doesn’t bend. I’m definitely going to try your exercises and follow advice. Thanks!😊

  2. I found this article, as I’ve read a lot of different things about icing and anti inflammatories:
    http://runnersconnect.net/running-injury-prevention/ice-running-injuries/
    I think it’s important to note the benefit of ice in acute injuries, but I’ve also not found any research supporting ice longer term.
    http://runnersconnect.net/running-injury-prevention/ibuprofen-and-running/ On medications… These are just one article from the same source, and I’m really just putting this out there because icing and anti inflammatories are told so widely my doctors that I think people don’t look into it enough. Obviously with any injury that is likely to be so long term like yours, these are important things to research!
    On another note, good luck getting back into running! I know it’s been awhile but I’m sure it’ll be awesome to get back out there!

  3. Great post thank you! Would love to see a video on how to make those orthotics 🙏…. I’ve been dealing with pain in the foot for over a year because I ignored it at first for 4 months then broke the sesamoid in half and it got super bad and doctors didn’t know what to do… No walking for 6 months . What has really helped me is rolling out the calf muscles at least once a day on a black roll (foam roller) which is like a massage and rolling the foot on a tennis ball to loosen up the tight plantar fascia … My problem now is that the whole joint is quite stiff and I can’t move up the big toe very much and pain seems to be coming more from the joint than the sesamoid – I’ll have to see a doc soon again!

    • See a physical therapist for joint stiffness. I had the same thing in practically all of my toe joints on both feet from over compensating and my PT ninja worked it all out. Best of luck!

  4. I’ve had sesamoiditis in both feet now since July and I’ve been limping around for months! I am so tired of being so immobile. Thank you so much for this post. Your suggestions are great. Stretching my calves has definitely helped. I also ended up with custom orthotics which have been somewhat helpful, at least in offloading the pressure off of my sesamoids. May I ask what you’ve been doing in physical therapy? I asked my orthopedist about PT last month and he kind of blew it off and said he didn’t want me doing anything to further inflame the area. I just feel like I should be more pro-active about this!

    Thanks again for the post!

    • Greer, I truly feel your pain & frustration. I am going to be very honest with you, there is no doubt in my mind that physical therapy has been the catalyst behind my recovery. I just had an appointment yesterday with my PT and we both agreed, that there is no way orthotics could have provided the healing and progress I have today. Though, I am not 100% yet, we’re soooo close.
      When your body mechanics are off, stuff like this can happen and you have to see a true body mechanic – someone who has a clear understanding of how things work, to manipulate things back into place. I believe that is where healing begins. Then, when you get the pain & inflammation down, you work on strength training and finding the cause if you don’t know. For me, I asked my PT which areas I need to focus strength training on and hired an online personal trainer. I still don’t know for certain the cause of my sesamoiditis, though my PT is pretty sure it was due to hip surgery which caused me to walk funky and my body mechanics changed to accommodate.
      If I were you, I would seek a second or third opinion and get into PT. It was life changing for me. Today I went on a 2 mile hike with my boys and there was no way this would have been possible a month ago. Please feel free to reach out with any other questions, I am always willing to help from my experience.

  5. This is so helpful and positive to read – so different to so many other posts online! I was wondering, now you are one month into the programme, are you finding you are able to walk bare foot? My sesamoiditis seems to be gradually getting better and I’m wondering when other people have found they’ve been able to walk bare foot with no pain.

    • Dear Jacqueline,

      This is such a clear, practical and positive blog – thank you so much. My daughter (aged 23) has this condition, and has taken heart from your post. You mentioned that your husband made you a pair of orthotics. I’d love to see the video and/or tutorial on this if that would be possible – I’d like to have a go at doing this for my daughter.

      Best wishes,

      Anthony

    • Hi Eve, I have had some setbacks, but overall things are getting better. It’s of course slow progress, but I’m finally able to start a run/walk program. I don’t recommend walking barefoot until it’s 100% healed. I figure why take a chance when I’ve come so far. Hope this helps!

  6. Got it Dec ’14, but it probably started developing a few months earlier. Barefoot was helping a neuroma, so my feet got wider over summer. A PT noticed that I was not putting weight on the big toe, aggravating neuroma and did some work to correct that. The last nail was a trip to Europe on skinny toe box Clark’s Chukkas. On day 20 of 15 miles or so a day…sesamoid fracture. I used rigid mountaneering boots to get back to USA. Finn comfort prophylaxe, Altra Paradigm, Chaco’s & Birks. Best footbeds for me were cushy on top, rigid bottom cup, metatarsal pad & arch support. Started very rigid (carbon fiber, custom), eventually some controlled flex seemed better (cork-birk/Finn).
    Frozen plastic bottle rolls every night. Boswellia, Turmeric, Fish Oil formula. Traumeel rubs on the affected Flexor & Extensor Hallucis tendons. Calf stretches & rubs. No running, only swimming & flatfoot recumbent. Eventually elliptical trainer. Extra-Corporeal Shockwave, 7 sessions. 3 months to walking OK, 11 to no pain. Still doing preventative stretches, icing after hard workout & traumeel rubs. Switched permanently to wide toe box shoes: Finns, ALtras, Merrel AO, Dr. Marteens Gibbs, TOPO Athletic, Birk-footprints, NAOT, NB Dunham. Bought a beautiful pair of Vivobarefoot Lisboa, but I am now afraid of zero-cushion shoes. Not sure what will happen if I hit the bottoms hard, even in orthopedic shoes.

  7. Sorry, missed the most important bit: body mechanics. My hip was rotated anteriorly on both sides, worse on the right. Working with some type of kinesiologist (a GOOD orthopedic, physiatrist, Chiropractor, PT or similar) who MEASURES & understands body mechanics is paramount. The orthotics are just (very useful) crutches, not enough by themselves. The idea is that the shoe should simulate walking barefoot on soft soil. Not on hard soil. I like the analogy Naot/Birk uses: footprints on the sand. The metatarsal pads were painful at first; I started by removing them on one pair & slowly increasing the amount of time on the footbeds with full pads. They help by normalizing MP joint motion, avoiding the bad tendon angles than can aggravate the tendonitis. Same for the Heel support. But too much support all the time does weaken the foot muscles, so is better to switch to the softer footbeds as soon as the bone has mended & the inflammation subsided. Early during the sesamoiditis, I used VERY rigid shoes (Salewa mountaineering boots) with some rocker. Chacos were the first softer shoe I tolerated, but they had quite a bit of rocker too. My current favorites are the Birkenstock Pasadenas, Altra Paradigm’s & Finn Comfort Vassa. Birk sandals are all right, albeit a bit softer. Dress shoes were an issue, had to get custom made. By the way, my neuroma also disappeared after all these changes…

  8. Hi!
    I too having been suffering from sesamoiditis for a yr now. Trying many things. Was considering S custom orthodic but it’s $270 eak! I would love to know/see how your hubby made yours. What a great guy!!

    Thanks in advance!!

  9. I was diagnosed with sesamoiditis (tibial) about 4 weeks ago, they put me in a boot and after a few days, pain was so bad that they made a little cutout to offload be sesamoid.
    Still not better, I would love to try to make the orthotic your hubby made for you, since this one only covers part of the ball of my foot, so the rest of my foot (my heel) hurts at the end of the day.
    Thank you for sharing

  10. hi there –

    came across your piece on treating + curing sesamoiditis.

    i have been struggling with arthiritis in my sesamoids for 3.5 years now.

    and i have yet to find clear answers as to what might help, as each day, my pain levels are different.

    in your piece, you had said to let you know if one would like a tutorial or video on how your husband made the orthodic that “floats” the area.

    are you able to share this ? would really appreciate it.

    do let me know. thanking you in advance.

  11. I’ve read all these posts… No one mentioned a Platelet Rich Plasma injection (PRP injection. Any of you familiar?
    Suggested after a cortisone injection and continued boot therapy. Going onto week 7. Ugh!

    • Hi Lisa — I’ve had sesamoiditis in both feet since May 2015. I’ve been almost totally unable to get around, drive, etc. for about a year. After multiple custom orthotics, cortisone injections, prescription anti-inflammatories, PT, etc., PRP was suggested. I had the first PRP injection done on my right foot in June (then the boot for 4 weeks) and did the left foot in July (and then the boot on that foot for 4 weeks). By August, my right foot looked a little bit better but the PRP injection hadn’t done anything for the pain. My doctor recommended one more round on each foot (according to him, if it doesn’t work by the second injection, there’s really no point in continuing them). I had PRP on the right foot about 6 weeks ago, and on the left foot about 3 weeks ago. My feet definitely look healthier and less swollen, but I certainly can’t stand on them barefoot or really walk more than a block or two using my orthotics. My sesamoids are still tender to touch, so while they look a little better, I don’t feel any better. Maybe it’s too soon tell? At this point, I’m looking into other treatments. I’m sorry that’s not the most helpful answer, but my doctor did say he had had success with PRP treating sesamoiditis in the past, so you might be the lucky one.

  12. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve had sesamoiditis on and off for a couple of years and right now it’s at it’s worse. I can’t do PT because I’m out of work and without insurance. I can’t even get the inserts! I would love it if you’d post a video how your husband made the custom ones for you. Also, curious about your shoes. You posted the running shoes but I’m not a runner. What shoes do you wear to work? Thanks for the tips!

  13. Hi,

    I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with cortisone injections? I have had sesamoiditis for 2.5 years and am going to see yet another doctor on Monday. I worry that he will suggest cortisone injections, but I have struggled with an eating disorder and absolutely fear the weight gain that they cause. Has anyone had any experience with cortisone shots? Also, is it difficult to find a doctor who will offer PRP injections? I live in the Ann Arbor Michigan area.

    • Hi Lauren, had the cortisone injection at week 5 of sesamoiditis and placed in a boot for 3 weeks. Had a cortisone flare in the middle of the night..(horrible pain at the injection site), a reaction to the injection. Foot was tender and stiff for at least a week. After the boot came off there was no difference from the cortisone or boot.
      Back to square one. As far as PRP injection, that was the
      next suggestion, but very leery on this one. You should be
      able to find a podiatrist that does surgery in your area. Or perhaps try an sports Ortho specialists. Just started seeing a chiropractor now for this along with supplements:
      MVI, fish oil, dolomite, tumeric, vid D and hyaluronic acid.
      This is a ridiculously arduous injury!!!

      • Hi Lisa,

        Thanks for letting me know! Did you notice any weight or fat gain or increase in appetite from the cortisone injection? Sorry to hear about your pain with it, though. I hope that PRP would be offered to me but I heard it’s not more effective than cortisone so insurance doesn’t cover it. I wouldn’t mind paying out of pocket but don’t know if there are any clinics near me that would offer it to me. I’ve also heard that many ortho surgeons make you get cortisone before surgery because they could be sued if the surgery went badly and they didn’t exhaust all conservative treatments for the patient. UGH. I fear I’ll never be able to run again during my lifetime and I’m only almost 21 years old

        • Hi Lauren, there is no change change in appetite or weight gain with an injection. That is typical for long term use with oral steroids. Trust me, so,sick of this injury!!!
          Also started supplements: MVI, Vid D, Tumeric, fish Oil, hyaluronic acid. Hoping and read that these have helped
          others.

    • Hi Lauren, unsuccessful attempt at the cortisone injection as it only made the foot feel worse and also suffered a
      Cortisone flare in the middle of the night. Wore a bot for
      3 weeks afterwards and that too did absolutely nothing.
      Podiatrist suggested a PRP injection but sitting on the fence with that for now.

  14. Thank you so much for this post. I feel relieved, there is hope! After being misdiagnosed for a year plus, I can see light at the end of the tunnel. Not running has been to say the least saddening. At some point I even did Foot Physiotherapy for three months. Not sure it offered relief. I’ve also been taking anti-inflammatory drugs for a year. Had numbing injections. The pain has come down, but any attempts to run flares up the foot.
    I must say I’ve not been diligent with the ice block. This I must implement.
    Wearing Sketchers with a Memory form has also eased my pain, so starting next week I’ll wear my new insoles full time. I’m able to walk long distances when wearing Sketchers.
    Thanks again, look forward to coming back here and giving feedback on full recovery.
    *Kenya

  15. A huge thank you for this, I am 20 and last nov 1 ran my first marathon but during it//POST 26.2 wrecked my hip. I had to have a hip arthroscopy in May of this year. WOOHOO.

    But during the time of finding a diagnosis and tryign to walk normal bc of my bum bum hip I started walking differently. My right foot was trying to compensate for my left hip and within 3 weeks of having pain my foot started hurting.
    I tried to push it out of my mind bc the hip was a much bigger deal. This summer my podiatrist said my sesamoids were huge and put me on prednisone. I have been going to the PT for the last 5 months now and they’ve been trying to work on my foot but no luck 🙁 Did you ever try the metatarsal sleeves? I bought some of the pads but they just felt so uncomfortable… Also i pray that it’s not too late but could you PLEASEEE post a vid on how to make the floating pad? thank you so much!! i really hope your sesamoids are healed and you are back to run!! (something i miss soooo freaking much) lol xxxx

  16. Thank you so much for one time post! . I didn’t know the exact term untill I read your blog. My doctor didn’t tell me much so I was pretty upset. He only gave me steroids shot on my right foot, which helped for a few months then now I’m in pain again.

    I would love to see the tutorial that your husband made for your shoes, it would be great help for me.

    Thank you so much again, I’m definitely going to try your steps out!!!

    • Is this a shoe/sole insert that someone’s husband made? Could you please forward me the info as well, as everything we’ve tried is unsuccessful. Thank you!!

  17. Hi…
    I am in so much pain and tried everything! I am at the point where I can barely walk…

    I would like a tutorial or video on how he made them, Please?

  18. Hey I’d love to check out the link for the tutorial
    On how to make your own orthotics, could you please send it to me.

    Very well written article. Thanks for sharing your experience with sesamoiditis

  19. Jacqueline (or anyone else who has had good results),
    What did you do for the strength training & P.T.? I’ve had S.I. all year (right foot) and what clued me in was in your OP where you said you walked on the side of your foot & your heel. I had bunion surgery in 2012 which healed fine, then bc the dr. they gave me was an idiot I got a hammertoe on the 2nd one, had surgery, but all the limping led to arthritis and a mallet toe on the 3rd one…had surgery…and all the limping on *THAT* led to S.I.!! >:( I walked on the side of my foot and heel too and soon after noticed the ball of foot paining me!
    I’ve been working with a new podiatrist, a P.T. dr. and have had 2 sessions of acupuncture. Doing the rest, ice, shoes all the time, contrast soaks, gentle toe stretches, calf stretches and massage, ankle rolls, plus I cut the ball-of-foot area out of my old orthotics to take the pressure off that a bit. The new custom orthotics should arrive in 2 weeks and are to have less padding in the sesamoid area so I hope that helps. Also getting a mix of essential oils to (I hope) aid in reducing inflammation and nerve pain.
    Healing is complicated by the fact that I’m 6.5 months post-mallet toe-surgery and it is still swelling like crazy and I’m experiencing nerve pain. I’m in contact with the dr’s and I expect that will go away *eventually*…sigh…
    Going to re-join the gym to swim but am curious what strength regimens are recommended? After nearly 3 years with one foot injury after another after another, I am out of shape and my right calf has a total chicken leg! It’s really scrawny because I can’t walk much or really exercise. Should I just strengthen my calves?

    • First, sorry for ALL this you are going through!!! My son is in week 13 with sesamoiditis. After 2 podiatrists and a chiropractor, cortisone injection, boot, PT, zero G treadmill. We are now in a Darco Ortho Wedge boot.. It offloads the forefoot by 57% and great toe by 75%. Additionally, in Dancers Pads/Sesamoiditis pads 1/8 thick. Offloads the area as well. He is a 17yo
      XC runner.

      • I have a 15 year old xc runner with sesamoiditis in both feet. How is your son doing?

  20. Hi there. Thanks for your site. Very helpful. I’ve been suffering from bilateral feet sesamoiditis for almost 8 months. I’ve seen 3 doctors and I’m only 50% better. I just can’t seem to get over this plateau point. I’m waiting on custom orthotics…I should get next week. The modified insoles to float the sesamoids the docs make in the office seem to feel more uncomfortable, like a giant wod of sock in my shoe. It’s very frustrating. I’m 31 with two young kids, have always been very active. I’d love to see the video your husband used to make orthotics. I’m willing to try pretty much anything at this point.

    • Hi Bethany,
      After 12 weeks of sesamoiditis, 3 doctors, PT, boot and more…. We put my 17yo so. In a Darco Ortho Wedge.
      He wore it for 3 weeks and his pain has decreased from a 4 to 0.5 !!!! Wow! He also is wearing a “Dancers” gel pad, 1/8 in. Additionally, purchased the Hoka One One Bondi 4 running she as it’s a stiff sole/rocker bottom shoe. He is a XC runner and we are trying diligently to get him back in the game. Hope this helps.

      • I have seen 3 docs. Insoles, inserts, dancers pads, metatarsal pads, pads to float the sesamoid, custom orthotics, cortisone injection once, physical therapy. Everything except a boot or surgery, which, the latter is out of the question. Every insert or orthotic just caused more foot pain or other body pain. My sesamoid might feel better, but now my heel hurts, etc….Other than chronic foot pain…when the feet our hurting, I walk and stand differently…which leads to calf, hip, and back pain. I’ve tried several different shoes, taping, etc. I start to get better, then it flares again. It takes a long time to heal unfortunately…at least in my case. I have two young kids and I am a RN in a critical care unit. There’s not much “putting my feet up” moments. I appreciate the suggestions and hearing other’s stories.

  21. I would love a tutorial of how your husband made the orthoticsame for your feet. Thanks.

  22. Thank you for posting this. I’ve had the -itis flare up from time to time and it was because I did a lot of the No-no’s on your list.

    Probably what hit home for me was I must be more stubborn than the injury itself.

  23. Hi all – I noticed multiple people have asked for the tutorial Jacqueline wrote about. She posted a video on 11/20/15 that she stated was the one her husband used to make hers. I used it to make one also and I notice a difference (that is, I tried to take it out a couple days ago, wondering if it was bothering *another* toe on the same foot which is injured – and taking it out hurt so I put it back in!).

    Also, in case it helps anyone, this is what my PT recommended for me last week:
    Squats on a “balance pad” (you can find them on Amazon. She specifically mentioned “Airex” brand but there are others. I haven’t ordered one yet.) They are a thick, cushy small mat that is softer than a hard floor to work out on but the squishiness forces your feet/ankles/calves to work harder and get strong! 🙂 She said 3 sets of 10 reps 3x a week. When I can do that with no pain I can “graduate” to squats on a BOSU ball – with the ball part up. Before getting direction from her on which one to start with I tried the BOSU…and have spent the 3 days since in more pain! So if you try this, start small, people! Invest in a mat or hope your gym has one and try a set, then see how you feel the next day. If you’re ok, try more. That is the follow-up advice she gave.
    See if you can get custom orthotics made – mine were made with a “sesamoid relief” area – it’s softer padding under the ball of the foot.
    My PT also recommended gentle big toe stretches and leg strengthening, specifically calves. If you have resistance bands she said to sit with legs out straight (shoes on) and the band around the ball of your foot. Slowly push forward like it’s the pedal of a car and then slowly release.
    Also if any of you are into essential oils, the recipe I got for inflammation support is this: In a 10ml rollerball bottle, put 20 drops Wintergreen EO, then 10 drops of each of the following: Peppermint, Lemongrass, Clove and Idaho Balsam Fir. Fill rest of the bottle with a carrier oil and rub on the inflamed area every couple hours. It actually seems to help a bit.
    Thanks, Jacqueline, for your blog. It gives me hope. I wish everyone the best and that we all heal.

  24. Oh gosh, I’ve just been diagnosed by a podiatrist and thought I’d do some research and found this page, which is very helpful and informative but of so depressing! I can only hope mine will heal, as it seems I stepped on something in my Sketchers which must have damaged it but I’ve left it for 3 weeks before being diagnosed, as it wasn’t getting better. I’ve been told to cut back on walking to try and rest it, it is taped up and I’m icing it. Fingers crossed it will heal quickly. I will try the walking/swimming as an alternative as per SCB suggestion. Luckily it is summer here in Australia, so this won’t be a hardship. Good luck everyone.

    • Anyone with sesamoiditis and a runner??
      Did you require custom orthotics? If so, what material did they use? My sons injury is now 25 weeks!!!!! We are on our 4th doctor and finally healing. He wants to be back running ASAP (18 yo XC runner–running in college fall 2017).
      Thank you for any help out there.

      • Please tell me how your son recovered. I have a 15 yr old xc runner with ses. in both feet! Help!

        • Hi Lisa (mom of 15 yo XC runner), I am thrilled to report that after 8 months of constant work… from 7 supplements, 2 medical doctors, 2 chiropractors, cortisone injection, resulting in cortisone flare ( stay away from his)!, 3 rounds of PT, laser therapy and ultrasound he finally ran pain and injury free in Track and will be running XC this fall in college.
          What finally worked after months and daily regimens of everything ( ice/ heat, Epsom salt soaks, 2 different boots on and on). The 1st step: offload that sesamoid.. My son researched and found on amazon the Darko Ortho Wedge
          (Only way to not have pain when ambulating) $25-30.
          During this same period we finally found a chiropractor and medical facility that knew what sesamoiditis was (he works with the Steelers)!!! He would use laser therapy and ultrasound. Coming out of the Ortho Wedge was extremely slow but effective and worked. On days out of the boot we bought the Hoka (running shoe) as it has a stiff sole and rocker bottom (rec for sesamoiditis).. LOVE this shoe!
          After 3 months (2xweek), we upgraded to PT, still using laser therapy. After 2 months of this we were blessed to work with a man who made him 3 pair of extreme custom orthotics (everyday shoe, running shoe, spike).
          He doesn’t go anywhere without his orthotics in!!!
          I hope this helps… Let me know….

    • Looking for all who had to purchase Custom Orthotics for Sasamoiditis. My son is an 18 yo XC runner who developed Sesamoidiitis 24 weeks ago!!! Ugh!!
      Almost pain free and ander doctors care.
      Ally advice appreciated.

      • I have gotten custom orthotics. They had arch support and a recessed area to give the sesamoids relief. I was excited about them. But, after wearing them for several weeks, I noticed increase pain to other areas of my feet, ankles, calves, hips, and back. I didn’t want to trade one problem for another…so I stopped wearing them. I have been reading about orthotics and there are some who feel they help, others who feel they are just a “band-aid” and can cause other problems. So, I don’t know the answer. I just know that they seemed to bother my already abused feet. I’m not sure if I’m going to try them again…

        • HELLO to all fellow sesamoiditis sufferers! I promised myself that if my foot ever got better I would post about it. So. Here we go..

          I developed sesamoiditis in my left foot in the summer of 2013. It wasn’t properly diagnosed until 2 years later, 2015. By this time I couldn’t walk for longer than 20mins without the pain stopping me. With the diagnosis, it was suggested I try all the conservative techniques before trying anything more invasive (like surgery). So, I began doing all the things I’m sure you’ve all probably tried – taping, icing, resting, massaging, and physio, none which seemed to help. I bought some online orthotics – sesamoid pad type things, which just made it more painful. My dad did make for me the insoles that Jacqueline’s husband made for her ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkmNX6tkZiw&feature=youtu.be ) which did actually make some slight difference with the pain, which made me feel a little more hopeful, but it didn’t completely eradicate it. I was also taking naproxen, which seemed to make no difference…

          This went on for about 4 months. I then went back to my foot consultant – a Dr in Bristol called Dr Ian Winson – who is, in my opinion, a brilliant doctor. He understands and has worked with many sesamoiditis sufferers, and was lovely with me; listening, caring, but, moreover – effective. He instructed me to go into a boot for 6-8weeks, and after that to do more physio, and get some custom made insoles. I was in a plaster cast boot for 8 weeks, and then had to gradually get back into walking as normally as I could. I was very anxious, and actually bought myself a wheelchair for during the “plaster cast boot” time – I wanted to put as little weight on my foot as possible to allow time for it to heal. This may have been overcautious – Dr Winson had said that wasn’t necessary, and that I should slowly start walking through the boot towards the end of the plaster cast 8 week period. I didn’t though, out of fear it would hurt/damage it, which meant I took a long time to start walking again properly after the cast was taken off. I had crutches to help with the transition from no walking to walking, and it probably took about 3-4 months for me to properly begin walking again after the cast was taken off. Putting proper weight through my foot I found scary, because as soon as I felt any pain (and I did feel pain), I thought, oh no, the boot hasn’t worked, I’ve wasted about 5 months for nothing. Dr Winson said that I would feel pain though, because my foot hadn’t been used for so long, and was really just waking up. So, I continued trying to increase my walking, very very gradually. I used a gadget to count my steps – literally increasing it day by day by about 100 steps or so. I was also doing gentle physio alongside this, to try and stretch my foot and wake up the stiff muscles again…

          Still, though, I was in pain, and feeling so frustrated. It was around then that the appointment to get my custom made insoles came through. They were made so that there was a little dip in the sole where my sesamoid bone is, the idea being that when I walked through that joint whilst weight bearing, the weight wouldn’t 100% go through the sesamoid – meaning hopefully much less pain, and allowing it time to heal whilst I walked around as normal. I know obviously I had done a lot more before getting these insoles (boot plaster cast, physio, rest etc), but honestly, as soon as I put these insoles on, the pain reduced massively, I would say by 80%. The 20% niggle lasted for about 3-4months, but now I very rarely notice it when I’m walking. I can run, jump and skip without a problem. (Im not a regular jogger though.) I try to remember to do the physio exercise that Dr Winson deemed crucial (calf stretches, as your calf muscles connect to around your sesamoid bone, so if the calf muscles are nice and loose, it means less pressure is put on/around the sesamoid bone/area). But sometimes I forget! And it’s actually alright! I truly feel my life has got back to normal – I went for a 1 hr 30mins stomp of a walk with my family on Christmas Day, and I was fine!! This may not be helpful at all for some of you, but if it’s helpful for just one person that is great. I thought it was about time I wrote about my successful battle with the bugger that is sesamoiditis..

          ***custom insoles are the way***

          ***or at least they were for me!***

          Eve

  25. Did you make an orthotic pad for both feet or just one? If for just the affected foot then what kind of insole did use use for your “good” foot?
    Thanks

  26. My right foot sesamoids have broke out of the tendon. I am an avid Pickleball player and have to almost eliminate any play. When I do it hurts and last even at night in bed. My Dr. gave expensive foot inserts that I gave up on since it didn’t help. Can this type of injury heal or do I need surgery? I wonder if the bone can be dissolved like they do for kidney stones.

    • ANYONE….with sesamoiditis that is a runner??
      Have you purchased Custom Orthotics? If so, were they
      Performed weight bearing v non weight bearing?
      Plaster casting v 3D scanner?
      Any success?

      • Mine were performed by the podiatrist. Non-weight bearing, foot was in a neutral position. Plaster casting. I wrote back to you in another response…I’m not sure if the orthotics have helped any or harmed more. I’m undecided on them. Everyone’s feet and injuries are different. My sesamoiditis was probably from running….dang hill sprints.

        • Thanks for responding back. I guess the take away here is it all depends on which lab is used to create the custom orthotics. Plaster cast or 3D scanning seem to be the most effective/ accurate technique. My son continues to receive ultrasound, cold laser therapy and starting PT today. Still weening off his boot (Darco Ortho wedge) which has been an incredible difference!! Off loads the forefoot 75%!!! Fingers crossed for Custom. Orthotic.

        • It seems the take away here is the lab creating the custom orthotics and plaster casting or 3D scanning are the most accurate. Still receiving ultrasound, cold laser therapy and starting PT today. Continues to ween out of boot as well.
          Thanks for the advice.

  27. HELLO to all fellow sesamoiditis sufferers! I promised myself that if my foot ever got better I would post about it. So. Here we go..

    I developed sesamoiditis in my left foot in the summer of 2013. It wasn’t properly diagnosed until 2 years later, 2015. By this time I couldn’t walk for longer than 20mins without the pain stopping me. With the diagnosis, it was suggested I try all the conservative techniques before trying anything more invasive (like surgery). So, I began doing all the things I’m sure you’ve all probably tried – taping, icing, resting, massaging, and physio, none which seemed to help. I bought some online orthotics – sesamoid pad type things, which just made it more painful. My dad did make for me the insoles that Jacqueline’s husband made for her ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkmNX6tkZiw&feature=youtu.be ) which did actually make some slight difference with the pain, which made me feel a little more hopeful, but it didn’t completely eradicate it. I was also taking naproxen, which seemed to make no difference…

    This went on for about 4 months. I then went back to my foot consultant – a Dr in Bristol called Dr Ian Winson – who is, in my opinion, a brilliant doctor. He understands and has worked with many sesamoiditis sufferers, and was lovely with me; listening, caring, but, moreover – effective. He instructed me to go into a boot for 6-8weeks, and after that to do more physio, and get some custom made insoles. I was in a plaster cast boot for 8 weeks, and then had to gradually get back into walking as normally as I could. I was very anxious, and actually bought myself a wheelchair for during the “plaster cast boot” time – I wanted to put as little weight on my foot as possible to allow time for it to heal. This may have been overcautious – Dr Winson had said that wasn’t necessary, and that I should slowly start walking through the boot towards the end of the plaster cast 8 week period. I didn’t though, out of fear it would hurt/damage it, which meant I took a long time to start walking again properly after the cast was taken off. I had crutches to help with the transition from no walking to walking, and it probably took about 3-4 months for me to properly begin walking again after the cast was taken off. Putting proper weight through my foot I found scary, because as soon as I felt any pain (and I did feel pain), I thought, oh no, the boot hasn’t worked, I’ve wasted about 5 months for nothing. Dr Winson said that I would feel pain though, because my foot hadn’t been used for so long, and was really just waking up. So, I continued trying to increase my walking, very very gradually. I used a gadget to count my steps – literally increasing it day by day by about 100 steps or so. I was also doing gentle physio alongside this, to try and stretch my foot and wake up the stiff muscles again…

    Still, though, I was in pain, and feeling so frustrated. It was around then that the appointment to get my custom made insoles came through. They were made so that there was a little dip in the sole where my sesamoid bone is, the idea being that when I walked through that joint whilst weight bearing, the weight wouldn’t 100% go through the sesamoid – meaning hopefully much less pain, and allowing it time to heal whilst I walked around as normal. I know obviously I had done a lot more before getting these insoles (boot plaster cast, physio, rest etc), but honestly, as soon as I put these insoles on, the pain reduced massively, I would say by 80%. The 20% niggle lasted for about 3-4months, but now I very rarely notice it when I’m walking. I can run, jump and skip without a problem. (Im not a regular jogger though.) I try to remember to do the physio exercise that Dr Winson deemed crucial (calf stretches, as your calf muscles connect to around your sesamoid bone, so if the calf muscles are nice and loose, it means less pressure is put on/around the sesamoid bone/area). But sometimes I forget! And it’s actually alright! I truly feel my life has got back to normal – I went for a 1 hr 30mins stomp of a walk with my family on Christmas Day, and I was fine!! This may not be helpful at all for some of you, but if it’s helpful for just one person that is great. I thought it was about time I wrote about my successful battle with the bugger that is sesamoiditis..

    ***custom insoles are the way***

    ***or at least they were for me!***

    Eve

  28. Pingback: Sesamoiditis Update – Skinny Chick Blog

  29. Thank you for sharing all this information. I am a fitness instructor and I’ve had this pain for months. I finally went to the podiatrist today and he confirmed that I have seismoiditis in both feet. I ordered custom orthotics from him and I am about to buy Altra Torin shoes online. I teach a lot of HIIT classes that involve jumping and also a lot of barefoot ballet barre. I’m screwed!!!! This is my job and I can’t lay off my feet. I really don’t know what I’m gonna do.

  30. Great info! I have had it in both feet for over a year! I have only received a little help from doctors; basically they say surgery; but I am not going there (so afraid that would cause bunions and not fix the problem). I would love to see the video; I have tried several orthotics; which give some relief and I have changed shoes, ice, stretch calves ( but I need to be more serious ) and have been taking anti inflammatory drugs (have not seen much help here! I have had so many issues with my body 10 surgeries neck, back (6x), hip, shoulder, knee; I was a competitive swimmer (lap pool where I lived and used to work has closed); I have a high pain tolerance and I’m no whimp! But this rocks my boat! My feet hurt ALL THE TIME; so I’m taking your advice and I’m going to get serious! Thank you for creating your blog!
    Teri

  31. Thank you SO MUCH for this blog and for everyone’s comments!!!! I had bunion surgery 25 years ago (I’m 50) on both feet and had residual pain in my right foot. After many X rays, MRI’s, wearing a boot for 6 weeks, and consultations with numerous podiatrists, I had one of my sesamoids removed. Since it was cracked the hope was that it was the cause of the pain- it was not. The pain never went away. Recently the pain became really bad- I’m not sure why- and recent X-rays shows that it is inflamed. The podiatrist is now recommending that I start with a gel pad to take pressure off of the sesamoid but I’m not very hopeful since I’m now in CHRONIC PAIN. Also, I would appreciate peoples’ feedback about which sneaker they prefer- the Altra versus the Hoka, and which model. Many thanks!

    • Hi Gayle,
      Sesamoiditis is a long road to recovery but once you locate the correct person to help you it’ll go easy. So keep searching in your area until you do so!
      The gel pad is most likely not going to do anything but cause more frustration & pain. My son tried the dancers gel pad off amazon. Don’t recommend. The Hoka Bondi 4 is what he was able to use while healing. A stiff sole, rocker bottom is what you need. All Hokas are designed this way. An amazing shoe! We were fortunate to find a guy who makes extreme custom orthotics and that has kept my son injury free while running Track & XC !!
      You will most likely need orthotics as well.

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