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What is Bunionette?

Bunionette also referred to as a tailor’s bunion is a bony lump that grows on the outside of the foot at the base of your little toe. The deformity got its name as q tailor’s bunion when tailors once sat with their legs crossed all day, with the outside edge of their feet rubbing on the ground. This constant rubbing gave rise to a painful bump at the base of their little toe. A bunionette differs from a bunion which typically develops on the inside of the foot below the big toe.

Causes of a Bunionette

The major cause of bunions is wearing ill-fitting shoes like tight, narrow, and high-heeled shoes that compress the toes and exert excessive pressure while walking. Other causes may be hereditary, inverted foot, loose ligaments in your foot, tight calf muscle or abnormal position of the bones in your little toe. The condition generally starts when you are young and becomes worse with time.

Symptoms of a Bunionette

The common symptoms include:

  • Swollen bump on the outside of the foot at the base of your little toe
  • Pain and redness at the site of the enlargement
  • Pain when it rubs against your shoe

Diagnosis of a Bunionette

Your doctor diagnoses a bunionette based on the following:

  • Physical examination of your foot
  • X-rays to determine bone and soft tissue damage

Treatment for a Bunionette

A bunionette may be treated either by non-surgical or surgical methods. The non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Medications to help alleviate pain and associated symptoms
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and swelling
  • Ice packs to reduce inflammation
  • Wearing wide-toed and flexible shoes that fit properly to reduce toe compression
  • Use of bunion pads to relieve pain and prevent the bunion from rubbing against your shoe
  • Doing calf stretches twice daily

Your doctor might administer corticosteroid injections or recommend custom made shoe inserts to cushion the bunion and prevent pain if conservative measures do not work. Surgery may be recommended if you still have pain and swelling and the bunion has grown large. The procedure is known as an osteotomy. It is an outpatient procedure which is performed under anesthesia. The surgery involves surgically cutting and realigning the bones in your little toe. The bony fragments are then stabilized using screws, steel wires or plates.

Prevention of a Bunionette

You should avoid wearing poorly fitted shoes to prevent compression of the toes which may lead to the growth of a bunion.

Other Foot & Ankle Conditions