Sesamoiditis. What? Never heard of it? I bet you’ve felt it, though. It commonly presents as pain in the forefoot, usually beneath the big toe. The Mayo Clinic defines it as an inflammation of the small accessory bones (sesamoids) located on the underside of the foot near the big toe.
Have you recently started increasing your running miles? Sesamoiditis sometimes creeps up on people who are increasing miles while training for a marathon. The pain starts as a mild ache in the ball of the foot and becomes more painful over time.
Take a look at your running shoes. When did you start using them? Are they showing wear and tear? Do you add extra support with insoles? Runner’s World magazine suggests replacing your running shoes every 300-500 miles. Worn out shoes and incorrect shoes both contribute to injury in runners. Don’t be afraid to ask for help in the shoe store.
The common treatments for this type of foot pain are
- Rest! Ease up on the training a bit. Do some other types of exercise and let the foot bones recover.
- Ice. I know that soaking your feet in a hot bath feels good, but in a situation involving inflammation you will want to put ice on the painful area.
- Your physician may recommend some type of over-the-counter pain reliever.
- The doctor might also suggest a corticosteroid injection to help with swelling.
- Extremely painful cases may require walking boots or crutches.
Wouldn’t a little bit of rest be better than a week or so on crutches? Listen to your body. I read somewhere this week that pain is not your enemy. Pain is a signal.* Sometimes we know exactly why something hurts and how to make it better. Other times we can’t figure out why something hurts and we don’t know what to do.
If you are training for a distance you’ve never ran before, be mindful of your aches and pains. Soreness may be common and even expected, but excruciating pain isn’t necessary to achieve your goals. Find a trusted source and get a training schedule complete with short days and rest days. And follow it!
Do you experience any foot pain? What remedies would you add to this list?
*Update: I remembered where I read this! Kat Mayerovitch wrote a great piece for other massage therapists. She is who said that pain is not your enemy.