Sesamoiditis

Sesamoids are tiny bones embedded in a tendon that allow the tendon to slide smoothly for ease of mobility. In the foot, there are two sesamoids underneath the top of the foot and near the big toe that allow the big toe to move up and down freely. These help with push-off activities such as walking, running, and climbing.

Since the sesamoids are exposed to excessive force and pressure during weight-bearing activities, sports, and exercises, they are often prone to injury and trauma, as well as stress from overuse or from standing on hard surfaces for prolonged periods. Sesamoids can fracture or become inflamed. Sesamoiditis, a form of tendonitis, occurs when the sesamoids become inflamed, usually due to pressure placed on the balls of the feet.

What Are Some Causes of Sesamoiditis?

  • Weight-bearing sports, such as running, particularly on inclined surfaces or for long durations of time
  • Ballet and playing the position of catcher in baseball, which are activities that put recurring pressure on the balls of the feet
  • Having naturally high-arched feet or wearing high-heeled shoes

What Are Symptoms of Sesamoiditis?

  • Pain in the ball of the foot or under the big toe that worsens during recurring pressure or walking barefoot
  • Localized swelling and bruising
  • Stiffness, pain, and difficulty when bending and moving the big toe

How Is Sesamoiditis Treated?

  • Stop the activity that involves pressure to the area
  • Wear supportive, cushioned, soft-soled, low-heeled footwear
  • Ice the area
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications on a temporary basis (ask your doctor first)
  • Brace the area to allow for healing
  • Receive a steroidal medication injection to alleviate swelling

Plantar Fibromas

Plantar fibromas occur when benign tumors develop deep inside the plantar fascia, the dense fibrous ligaments that run along the bottom of the foot. The lumps or growths forming along the foot’s arch result in pain that is often felt in various areas of the foot. Plantar fibromas can lead to a multitude of other foot problems as they cause pressure throughout the foot.

Usually, plantar fibromas are diagnosed through a doctor’s examination and x-rays. Sometimes, MRIs are also necessary for proper diagnoses. Nonsurgical treatment options such as orthotics generally do not alleviate the pain caused by plantar fibromas; however, surgery can lead to nerve damage. Cryosurgery is a new development in the treatment of plantar fibromas. Performed as an out-patient procedure, it freezes and shrinks the growths with little to no post-sugery pain or complications.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is inflammation of the plantar fascia, the fibrous tissue that runs along the arch of the foot to connect the heel bone and ball of the forefoot. Heel spurs are not the same as plantar fasciitis; however, the two conditions are associated. Since the plantar fascia is subjected to great amounts of impact and pressure while supporting the foot’s arch, it can become inflamed and irritated. In some cases, it begins to deteriorate.

Standing, running, and walking can cause and encourage the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis. Treatment for plantar fasciitis is the same plan of attack to alleviate heel spurs: rest, ice application, orthotic inserts, exercises and stretches to alleviate tightness and pressure, and anti-inflammatory medications (always check with a doctor before taking any medication). Splinting the foot at night can also help stretch the plantar fascia. Surgery is necessary in some cases.

Plantar fasciitis can be prevented by wearing supportive, properly-fitting footwear, orthotics, heel pads or cushions, and stretching to keep the foot flexible.

Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is characterized by acute pain in the ball of the upper foot region, or the area between the foot’s arch and toes. There are five metatarsal bones running down the middle of the foot from the toes to the ankle; when one of the nerves between the metatarsals becomes inflamed, metatarsalgia and its accompanying pain result.

What Are Some Causes of Metatarsalgia?
Metatarsalgia can occur when uneven or too much pressure is applied to the foot’s metatarsals due to the following conditions:

  • Foot injuries
  • Weight-bearing sports and exercises, such as running
  • Ill-fitting or rigid footwear
  • Prolonged standing on hard floors or ground
  • Overpronation, or rolling in of the feet when walking or running which causes uneven weight distribution on the feet
  • Foot deformities
  • Morton’s neuroma
  • Arthritis
  • Aging (degenerates foot bones and pads)
  • Weight gain

What Are Symptoms of Metatarsalgia?

  • Sudden or increasing pain in the toe and forefoot area, especially during activity or walking barefoot
  • Callus formation under the inflicted joint due to pressure

How Is Metatarsalgia Treated?

  • Rest the area and restrict sports and physical activity
  • Apply ice
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications on a temporary basis (ask your doctor first)
  • Wear properly-fitting, supportive, and appropriate footwear and orthotics such as arch supports, metatarsal lifts, and inserts
  • Eliminate overpronation with appropriate footwear and orthotics
  • Lose weight to reduce pressure and stress on the feet

 

Flatfoot

Flatfoot is a foot deformity involving the arch of the foot, where the entire foot rests on the ground when standing, rather than the foot having a normal mid-foot rise. Flatfoot may result from the foot’s arch failing to develop properly during childhood, when standing and walking begin. It can also result from the foot’s arch collapsing over time or due to an injury or other condition.

What Are Some Causes of Flatfoot?

  • Abnormal childhood development of the foot arch, once standing and walking begin
  • Heredity (parents have flatfoot)
  • Injury or trauma
  • Foot arch that has gradually collapsed over time as a result of aging, weight gain due to pregnancy or obesity, or conditions such as arthritis

What Are Symptoms of Flatfoot?

Commonly, the condition of flatfoot causes no symptoms or pain, but the following indications may develop over time:

  • Pain in the foot, ankle, and/ or lower leg area, particularly in the middle of the foot
  • Lack of foot flexibility
  • Localized swelling

How Is Flatfoot Treated?

Since most cases of flatfoot do not result in pain, treatment may not be necessary; however, if pain and stiffness occur, the following treatments may be advised:

  • Rest and stretch the area
  • Participate in physical therapy
  • Wear arch supports, foot braces, and/or supportive tape
  • Ice the area
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications on a temporary basis (ask your doctor first)

In some people, flatfoot can create an inclination to suffer from painful progressive flatfoot, or tibialis posterior tendinitis. This occurs when the tendon of the tibialis posterior is injured, causing inflammation, overstretching, or tearing. This condition, also called adult-acquired flatfoot, can cause chronic pain and may become disabling if not properly treated.

 

Capsulitis

Capsulitis occurs when a toe joint ligament in the foot becomes inflamed due to over-stretching. These ligaments connect the toe and metatarsal bones. Capsulitis usually results from extending too much pressure to the forefoot as a result of trauma, overuse, or ill-fitting footwear.

What Are Some Causes of Capsulitis?

  • Sudden trauma or too much stress on the forefoot and toes
  • High heels, ill-fitting footwear, unsupportive footwear, or footwear inappropriate for the activity at hand
  • Activities that involve recurring bending of the toes, such as ladder climbing, gardening, or working on the floor or ground
  • Other medical conditions or deformities that render the foot and toe joints susceptible to inflammation, such as arthritis

What Are Symptoms of Capsulitis?

  • Pain and stiffness in the forefront and ball area of the foot
  • Swelling and tenderness of the toe joints
  • Sharp aches and pains in the toe joints
  • Difficulty walking
  • Since capsulitis often mimics other serious foot conditions, such as Morton’s neuroma, it is best to see a doctor for accurate diagnosis

How Is Capsulitis Treated?

  • Wear properly fitting footwear with low heels and plenty of support, along with cushioned orthotics to alleviate stress to the forefoot area
  • Refrain from the activity that caused the initial inflammation and rest intermittently during activities that involve recurring toe bending
  • Apply ice to the affected area
  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications on a temporary basis (ask your doctor first)
  • Receive cortisone injections from your doctor