Sesamoiditis (rare plural: sesamoiditides) is an inflammatory condition involving the sesamoid bones, usually a diagnosis of exclusion once other causes for sesamoid pain have been excluded.
The term is almost exclusively used in reference to the hallux sesamoids and this will be the focus of this article.
Typically occurs in young women.
Patients can present with non-specific metatarsal pain, usually during the toe-off phase of gait. They may weight bear on the lateral aspect of the affected foot due to the pain.
On examination, there can be restricted and painful movement at the great toe metatarsophalangeal joint with localizing tenderness to the sesamoids.
Occurs secondary to repetitive injury to the plantar aspect of the forefoot.
Radiography is essentially used to look for other bony causes of pain from the great toe and sesamoids. An axial sesamoid view provides a good view of both sesamoids in profile.
Late sesamoiditis can present with changes like fragmentation and sclerosis of the sesamoids which may be non-specific and difficult to distinguish from other causes of sesamoid injury.
- if subtle sclerotic changes are seen, osteonecrosis is more likely than sesamoiditis
- bone marrow edema within one or both of the great toe sesamoids
- STIR: high signal
- T1: normal or low signal
- may be indistinguishable from osteonecrosis early in the disease
- can exclude MTP joint osteoarthritis and other causes of pain
- sesamoiditis is often associated with reactive soft tissue changes, e.g. tenosynovitis, synovitis, bursitis
Bone scintigraphy (Tc-99m)
- focally increased sesamoid tracer uptake
Treatment and prognosis
Conservative management may be trialled initially with the use of foot padding, taping of the toe in plantar flexion and orthotic shoes.
Ultrasound-guided steroid and local anesthetic injection of the sesamoid-metatarsal articulation can be therapeutic and diagnostic. However, this is contraindicated if there is a known sesamoid fracture or suspected avascular necrosis.
Sesamoidectomy is reserved for patients with refractory pain despite other measures.
- 1. Sims AL, Kurup HV. Painful sesamoid of the great toe. (2014) World Journal of Orthopedics. 5 (2): 146. doi:10.5312/wjo.v5.i2.146 - Pubmed
- 2. Schein AJ, Skalski MR, Patel DB, White EA, Lundquist R, Gottsegen CJ, Forrester DM, Matcuk GR. Turf toe and sesamoiditis: what the radiologist needs to know. (2015) Clinical imaging. 39 (3): 380-9. doi:10.1016/j.clinimag.2014.11.011 - Pubmed
- 3. O. Kenechi Nwawka, Daichi Hayashi, Luis E. Diaz, Ajay R. Goud, William F. Arndt, Frank W. Roemer, Nagina Malguria, Ali Guermazi. Sesamoids and accessory ossicles of the foot: anatomical variability and related pathology. (2013) Insights into Imaging. 4 (5): 581. doi:10.1007/s13244-013-0277-1 - Pubmed
- 4. Carol J. Ashman, Rosemary J. Klecker, Joseph S. Yu. Forefoot Pain Involving the Metatarsal Region: Differential Diagnosis with MR Imaging1. (2001) RadioGraphics. 21 (6): 1425-40. doi:10.1148/radiographics.21.6.g01nv071425 - Pubmed