Sesamoiditis is the inflammation of the very small, jelly bean-like floating bones of the foot. These bones are found inside the tendon itself of the metatarsal bones and their purpose is to eliminate some of the stress on the bones themselves by acting as a pulley-type device. A common symptom of sesamoiditis is pain in the ball of the foot, right directly over the location of the sesamoid bone. Cause Faulty biomechanics of the foot is usually at fault for the development of sesamoiditis. Running and dancing can be done without pain, but when the foot bones are misaligned due to flat feet or overpronation, the foot becomes susceptible to new compressive forces placed on these tiny bones. However, it’s not just flat feet that can be problematic – even those with high arched feet can develop sesamoiditis. Dancing involves a lot of activity with the body’s weight on the balls of the foot, and this added stress may be enough to inflame the sesamoid bones. After the third or fourth dance lesson or dance outing, you may begin to notice an aching in the ball of your foot. This will get progressively worse, and pain will be felt if you press in on the sesamoid bone itself. Wearing high heels also places the majority of the weight of the body on the balls of the feet, making women more prone to develop sesamoiditis. Runners may also experience sesamoiditis, especially if they are not following the general guidelines to prevent injury, such as easing into distance increases, not running on hard pavement and never running uphill. Fat pad atrophy is another cause. Treatment and Prevention Sesamoiditis won’t go away until the activities that caused it in the first place are stopped, at least until the condition is healed. The stress on the sesamoid bone may be relieved with a simple metatarsal pad. This is a pad placed on the ball of the foot which may or may not have a hole for the sesamoid bone. With padding surrounding the inflamed sesamoid bone, the elevated padding absorbs the shock and pressure on the sesamoid bone. This allows the bone time to heal. As with other inflammatory conditions, the application of ice, and the use of heat, ultrasound or cold laser therapy may accelerate recovery. Prevention involves monitoring the length of time one participates in activities where the weight is on the ball of the foot, restricting the wearing of high heels, and always using orthotic arch supports, Ball of Foot Pads, and/or a cushioned insole to counter faulty biomechanics or faulty anatomy of the foot.