Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Foot FAQ


How can doctors tell if the sesamoid bone in my big toe has a fracture?


The sesamoids are two tiny bones underneath the joint of the big toe. An X-ray may show a space within the sesamoid bone. If the line looks jagged, it is probably a fracture.

In some cases, the line is smooth. This suggests a condition called bipartite sesamoid. About 10% of people have this condition. When people have a bipartite sesamoid on one toe, there's a 25% chance that they'll also have one on the other toe. If a doctor suspects a bipartite sesamoid, he or she may check the other toe to try and confirm the diagnosis. It would be unlikely to have a sesamoid fracture in both toes, so another line on the second X-ray would definitely suggest a bipartite sesamoid.

If the diagnosis still isn't clear, the doctor may order a bone scan. A bone scan involves injecting a radioactive chemical, called a "tracer," into your blood. When the tracer is circulating in your bloodstream, a technician takes pictures using special imaging equipment that detects the radiation. Accumulations of the tracer show up in fractures.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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