Sesamoids are small bones that are connected only to tendons or are embedded in muscle. This structure appears in only a few places in the human body, one of which is the foot. Two very small sesamoids (about the size of a kernel of corn) are found in the underside of the forefoot near the big toe—one on the outer side of the foot and the other closer to the middle of the foot. Sesamoids provide a smooth surface over which the tendons slide, thus increasing the ability of the tendons to transmit muscle forces. In the foot, sesamoids assist with weight-bearing and help elevate the bones of the big toe.
Like other bones, sesamoids can fracture. Additionally, the tendons surrounding the sesamoids can become irritated or inflamed, which is called sesamoiditis and is a form of tendonitis. Sesamoiditis is a common condition among ballet dancers, runners, and baseball catchers because of the pressures placed on their feet.
* Pain under the big toe or on the ball of the foot.
* Swelling and bruising.
* Difficulty and pain in bending and straightening the big toe.
Conservative Treatment includes:
* Discontinuation of the activity causing the pain and inflammation.
* Over-the-counter pain medications and anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Note: Please consult your physician before taking any medications.
* Icing the sole of the foot.
* Wearing shoes that are soft-soled and low-heeled.
* Using cushioning in shoes to relieve stress.
* Injection of a steroidal medication to reduce swelling.
If symptoms persist, you may need to wear a removable brace on the leg for four-to-six weeks to give the inflammation time to subside and the bones to heal.
If the pain is chronic and shown to be have a fracture or other associated pathology, then excision of the painful sesamoid may be performed.
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection of the skin on the foot. The majority of these infections are caused by one of three fungal agents called dermatophytes. Athlete’s foot is by far the most common fungal infection of the skin. The infection can be either acute or chronic. The recurrent form of the disease is often associated with fungal-infected toenails. The acute form of the infection most often presents with moist, scaling between the toes with occasional small blisters and/or fissures. As the blistering breaks, the infection spreads and can involve large areas of the skin on the foot. The burning and itching that accompany the blisters may cause great discomfort that can be relieved by opening and draining the blisters or applying cool water compresses. The infection can also occur as isolated circular lesions on the bottom or top of the foot. As the skin breaks down from the fungal infection, a secondary bacterial infection can ensue.
The diagnosis of tenia pedis is generally made based upon the clinical presentation. A definitive diagnosis is made by taking a scraping of the skin and culturing it. It may take up to three weeks for the culture to grow the fungus. In some instances the culture may present a false negative result because the skin scraping was inadequate. Some doctors may perform a KOH prep of a skin scraping. This is examined under a microscope and may reveal elements that can make the diagnosis.
Treatment should be directed at controlling the fungal infection and treating any secondary bacterial infection with oral antibiotics. Soaking the feet in Epsom salts and warm water is helpful. Wearing sandals to reduce moisture accumulation and heat generated by closed shoes will also help in the control and spread of the infection. Other conditions that mimic acute athlete’s foot are contact dermatitis and pustular psoriasis.
The chronic form of athletes foot is a relatively noninflamatory type of infection. It is characterized by a dull redness to the skin and pronounced scaling. It may involve the entire bottom of the foot giving a “moccasin” appearance. It generally does not itch or result in the formation of blisters. This form of the disease frequently has an associated fungal infection of the toenails. There are good topical and oral medications available for the treatment of this condition. There are some less common causes of dry scaling skin on the feet.
Please come see Dr. Silvers for treatment of your skin infection.