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How to Tell Whether You Have Sesamoiditis or Gout

Gout pain usually flares up suddenly while Sesamoiditis pain is gradual. Also, Sesamoiditis is caused by overuse while gout occurs because of uric acid buildup.

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By Babafemi Adebajo
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Edited by Kelli Harris

Updated February 17, 2023.

If you are experiencing pain and swelling around your big toe or the ball of your foot, you might wonder: Is it gout or sesamoiditis?

Sesamoiditis is an inflammation of the tendons in the ball of the foot. Sesamoiditis is rare and, when it happens, it is caused by frequent pressure resulting in irritation of the area around the inflamed tendon. When it occurs, the big toe is most commonly affected.

Symptoms of Sesamoiditis

Like many other inflammatory conditions, the primary symptoms of sesamoiditis are:

  • Pain under the big toe
  • Reduced joint mobility
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Difficulty walking

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Symptoms of Gout

Gout has a similar presentation to sesamoiditis. Symptoms generally include:

  • Localized, intense pain (often at night)
  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling around the joint

Additionally, because gout presents with systemic effects, other symptoms like hypersensitivity, chills, tachycardia, malaise, and fever may also be present.

Sesamoiditis vs. Gout: How to Tell the Difference

There are a few differences between the symptoms and manifestations of gout and sesamoiditis, such as:

  • Cause Sesamoiditis is caused by frequent pressure due to overuse, while gout occurs due to a buildup of uric acid.
  • Diagnostic tests The diagnosis of sesamoiditis is based on the symptoms. Diagnosis of gout is done by aspiration and analysis of the joint fluid due to the build-up of uric deposits in the body.
  • The onset of pain In most cases, pain due to gout suddenly flares up while sesamoiditis pain is usually gradual.
  • The goal of management The primary goal in the management of sesamoiditis is to relieve pain and swelling. On the other hand, the initial goal in the management of gout is to terminate acute attacks, prevent a recurrence, as well as correct and prevent further damage from hyperuricemia.

Can Gout Cause Sesamoiditis?

Yes, it can. In that case, it can easily be misdiagnosed. As such, you should always be wary of the risk of self-diagnosis. Your healthcare provider will ask how the pain started and then examine the foot.