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By WillDean
From Seattle
Jul 23, 2013
Hello everyone,

I have been diagnosed with sesamoiditis in my right foot and I would LOVE to hear from anyone who has had experiences with it. I found previous threads in the MP search engine but would be interested to hear how those people that commented are doing now.

The jury is still out on whether or not there is a stress fracture, but either way, it has been completely debilitating for me. I haven't run or really even walked far in a month, let alone climb.

Anyway, my hours of google-browsing sesamoiditis have left me thoroughly depressed. Any success stories?

By Malcolm Daly
From Boulder, CO
Jul 24, 2013
I can't tell where you live because no info in your profile although Cob Rock is one of your favorites so I'll guess the Boulder area.

Go the the Boulder Valley Foot and Ankle and talk to Yvonne Weber. She's a podiatrist, a climber, a cyclist and track skier so she knows about healing for sports injuries.

I had debilitating sesamoiditis and she cured it up pretty quickly. She built a pair of orthotics that relieved the pressure on my sesamoid bones and within a month or two it was gone for good.

climb safe,

By JesseT
From Portland, OR
Jul 24, 2013
25' drop...wheeeeee!
I had that a couple of years ago in my right foot (overtraining for a "fun run"...d'oh). The doctors on my insurance weren't that great with it. They basically had me tape my big toe so it didn't stretch back too far. It was pretty debilitating and I gained 10 or 15 lbs from not being able to get around very well. It took about 3 months for it to get to the point where I didn't feel like I was going to re-injure it if I breathed on it wrong (though it still sometimes feels a little bit tight/stiff...sun salutations help).

After a few months, once I felt like I could climb again, I bought some super stiff, comfortable rock shoes which helped a lot.

Be careful how you work through it though. Because I couldn't roll off the ball of my foot, I ended up walking by keeping my foot flat on the ground and overflexing my ankle. This gave me a minor case of achilles tendonitis that now flares up from time to time. I also injured my left (opposite) knee once I started hiking again. I was walking down a slope and was still babying my right foot, so I was taking my bigger steps down onto my left foot. Gave me a little cartillage damage. Watch out for secondary injuries, seriously. They've lasted way longer than the original one.

Sorry, not exactly a success story...except that I'm pretty much better now I guess?

Edit: Also, like Mal said, go to a good doctor (expecially one who specializes in the sports you do). An OK one apparently doesn't cut the mustard.

By ErikaNW
Jul 24, 2013
Rapping off the Matron October, 2010
+1 for Boulder Foot and Ankle - Kristine Hoffman is also a podiatrist there and a climber.

Mine started last summer with too much slab climbing, soft shoes and approach shoes that were pretty beat. I let it get to the point where it was keeping me awake at night. Had orthotics made, was super careful about the shoes I wore to work, taped the toe for climbing/hiking, iced afterwards for the rest of the season. It improved gradually, and I was able to skip the tape and the ice after a month or so. It started to return this season, so I switched to a stiffer climbing shoe which helped a lot, but it still bothers me after a long day or if I climb slab. The best thing for me seems to be to stay on top of it by taking days off and not letting it get out of control. I think I also need to replace all of my shoes (not just climbing) more often when they start to wear/soften, and I am wearing my heavy duty hikers for longer approaches - the stiff sole is heaven on that foot.

Good luck!

By WillDean
From Seattle
Aug 4, 2013
Thanks for the replies! It is unbelievably refreshing to hear that people DO HEAL after damaging their sesamoids.

Here's an update for interested parties.

The doctor confirmed sesamoiditis and highly doubts the presence of a stress fracture. He gave me dancer's pads, put me in a boot with Superfeet insoles, and told me to take 800 mg Ibuprofen 3 times a day and to stretch my calves. That was a week ago and so far I have seen absolutely no improvement. (I know, it hasn't been that long. But it's damn hard to be patient, especially when it's prime alpine season here in the Cascades.)

It honestly seems like this is never going to get better! Has anyone else out there dealt with sesamoiditis? I would love to hear your stories of success or even failure.

Thankfully I have discovered that I can use a stationary bike with the boot on. Strong doses of aerobic exercise will definitely preserve my sanity.

Thanks for reading,


Aug 20, 2013
JSH @ home  photo courtesy of Gabe Ostriker
Hi Will,

I have a sesamoid that shows up in several pieces on x-ray. It's not clear whether it's always been that way, or whether it was an acute injury. It did start suddenly bothering me in July 2010, to the point where I could not climb on it at all, and for a while I thought it was tendonitis in the plantar fascia, so I tried to stretch the bottom of my foot (BAD IDEA), which could only have made the sesamoid irritation/inflammation worse.

The whole next fall/winter, I tried to treat it - docs, ice, nsaids, a boot, an ultrasound thing, dancer pads, orthotics, rest, etc.

The next spring I was told - time to go see surgeons, because you can apparently live without the sesamoid. One of the consults gave me a shot of cortisone, which was magic. I walked out of the office with a different (normal!) gait, and was out climbing a week later. Phew!

Then I had a bad bad accident two months later, so that gave the sesamoid ... a year's worth of rest from climbing.

I've been back out for a year now, and the sesamoid seems pretty stable. Low-grade ache every now and then, I make sure to wear loose comfy shoes anytime I'm not in rock or cycling shoes. But really, I think my foot just got used to whatever condition those bone fragments are in (there's a pic in my profile, in the "Julie's Pics" folder), and is no longer inflamed, which is really the best case scenario.

Best article I found: podiatrytoday.com/article/2442

Good luck!


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