Please help! I am a 20 year old male with a foot injury. I used to be very active (football, running, weightlifting etc.), but have been unable to exercise.
I first hurt my foot at the end of March 2012 when I stepped on a rock while sprinting in a field with tall grass. I stepped on the rock with my big toe joint, and the joint was forced up. My big toe joint could now slide up causing a vertical displacement between my first and second metatarsals and phalanges. My big toe joint on the left/ injured foot can also flex upward much past normal - compared to the right foot - almost able to point vertically. For several days I was barely able to walk, and the next day I went to the doctor's office at my university. They performed an x-ray and determined that nothing was broken. Most of my pain at this time was in my forefoot and there was a good deal of swelling. I was sent away with crutches to use for two weeks.
After a week or so, the pain that was in my forefoot under the arch right behind the big toe began to subside and I could walk with little pain. So, I walked around on campus for the remaining month of school in order to get to class (2-4 miles daily). Most notably, although it first happened several steps after injuring my foot in the field, was a popping in the big toe joint that has not gone away. It pops 1-10 times per day rather irregularly when walking and is especially prone to pop when I am not wearing shoes with insoles or am walking barefoot. I have flat feet. The pop is not like a click, but I can feel a tendon or something move if I put my hand under the big toe joint when it pops. The toe pops most often it is in the morning when I first get out of bed or after sitting for an extended period of time. The pop causes increased pain at first, but then a sense of released pressure.
Long story short, I walked around never running or really stressing the toe for several months, until getting an appointment at a podiatrist on July 1. He took another x-ray and believes that I have a fractured medial/ tibial sesamoid. He told me to wear an immobilizer boot for six weeks, hoping that a fibrous union will be formed.
However, I quickly found that the immobilizer boot, while better,did not stop the symptoms. The immobilizer boot only reduces the popping when I put an insole in it and can only stop the popping for several days to a week - when the toe will start popping again whether I wear the boot or supportive, thick-soled shoes (boots or Brooks). I have remained very inactive for the last six weeks, only walking to get around the house or go grocery shopping - always wearing the boot or supportive shoes. While I do sometimes get a soreness in the big toe, it is not near the incapacitating pain that is described by those with a fractured sesamoid (that I have seen online). I do not have the typical range of motion problems that come with a sesamoiditis or a fracture. Also, I have recently noticed that my big toe has begun to drift in towards my second toe. Other information, my big toes on both feet are much larger than my second and other toes, and the big toes are spaced a great distance from my second toes.
In conclusion, I find it unlikely after researching on the internet that it is sesamoiditis because of the sudden nature of the injury, but some of the other symptoms (ie. displacement between first and second metatarsals & extreme range of motion) make me think it may be another type of injury that is causing the popping. Also, I have heard that the surgery for a fractured sesamoid often does not have a great outcome.
Please, let me know what you think. Is it a sesamoid injury? Thank you for your help and for reading my post. I appreciate it so much!