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At Slocum Center, our orthopedic surgeons specialize in sesamoiditis. The Slocum Center has been providing care for foot conditions for more than four decades. That means your treatment will be provided by a team whose experience is virtually unmatched in Eugene and the surrounding areas. 

The sesamoid bones of the foot are two small bones that sit in a tendon under the first toe joint. They are about the size of a kernel of corn. The sesamoids act like pulleys. They provide a smooth surface for the tendons to glide on, thus increasing the ability of the tendons to transmit the appropriate forces. These bones can sustain a fracture. Also, the surrounding tissues can become irritated or inflamed.

When inflamed or fractured, there is pain under the great toe on the ball of the foot. Swelling may or may not occur. There is difficulty with walking forward and bending the great toe at the joint.


Examination demonstrates tenderness under the sesamoid bones. X-rays may show a fracture. However, sesamoiditis usually occurs without a fracture. This is secondary to inflammation around the sesamoid bones.

Treatment is usually nonoperative. Initial treatment consists of icing the area of tenderness and wearing a soft-soled shoe with a low heel. High heels tend to aggravate this condition. Activities should be initiated in a very slow and controlled manner.

The sesamoid may fracture. In this case, a stiff-soled shoe can be of benefit. Relieving the pressure on the sesamoid with a J-shaped pad may be helpful as well. This type of fracture will frequently take months to heal. On rare occasions, the fracture does not heal, continues to be painful, and requires either partial or complete excision of the involved sesamoid.

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