Perusing the NY Times Magazine last week, I was startled to discover one of the icons of my formative years, Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, sporting a CAM walker boot. This type of boot is generally used to protect the foot and ankle after an injury or surgery. As it turns out, the lead Chili Pepper sustained something not so hot – he initially fractured his sesamoid bone while jumping around on stage and while playing “toilet tag” in 2011. After a prolonged and painful period of unsuccessful healing, the bone was removed. There must be some cosmic forces at play here, because I have been observing what seems to be an unusually high number of this type of fracture in my NYC podiatry office.
What are these bones and why are they a pain in the foot?
The sesamoid bones are two small bones on the bottom of the big toe joint whose purpose is to assist the tendon that flexes the big toe to glide through the joint. These small bones sit in the high pressure, weight bearing surface of the foot. For that reason they can easily become injured by blunt or even relatively minor trauma. Their precarious position also sets them up for a cycle of notoriously poor healing as the blood supply to these bones is not so great and they are subject to the forces of walking, jumping and everyday life. The fracture may be treated with shoe and activity modification, immobilization with a walking boot or cast, and in extreme cases, removal of the bone. However, most cases heal well with modification alone. I’m not sure why there’s been an uptick in this injury in my New York podiatry office, guess it’s just karma, or something.
So if you have pain in the ball of your foot, or anywhere else, don’t just wait for it to go away. Make sure to have it checked out by a NYC foot specialist. It is always better to treat any condition in its early stages.
See you in the office.
Dr. Ernest L. Isaacson