A sesamoid fracture is a break in 1 of the 2 pea-shaped bones in the ball of the foot beneath the big toe. These bones let the feet move smoothly.
Causes may be:
This problem is more common in people who play high-impact sports, such as running, aerobics, ballet, or gymnastics.
The most common symptom is pain in the ball of the foot and big toe. Other problems may be:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. You may be asked about any injury you have had or any activities that you do. You may need to see a doctor who treats bones or feet.
Images may be taken. This can be done with:
It will take 4 to 8 weeks for most people to heal. The goals of treatment are to manage pain and support the bone as it heals. This may include:
Some people may need surgery when other methods do not help. During surgery, the sesamoid bone may be set or removed.
This problem cannot always be prevented. Starting a new sport slowly may help lower the risk of injury.
American Podiatric Medical Association
Foot Health Facts—American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Schein AJ, Skalski MR, et al. Turf toe and sesamoiditis: what the radiologist needs to know. Clin Imaging. 2015 May-Jun;39(3):380-389.
Sesamoiditis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/sesamoiditis. Updated May 20, 2016. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT, GCS Last Updated: 7/14/2020