Have you ever heard of a bunionette? Also called a tailor’s bunion, a bunionette is similar to a bunion but it occurs at the base of your little toe instead of your big toe. The causes of a bunionette are similar to those of a bunion. Most often, a genetic mechanical problem in the foot causes the bone structure to shift and the little toe begins to move inward. When this occurs, a bump forms on the outside of the foot. Sometimes a bone spur growing out of the side of the fifth metatarsal bone is the cause of a bunionette. Most of the time, patients come to Edmond Norman Foot & Ankle complaining of this condition once it begins to be painful. This happens because as the bump grows it becomes irritated by shoes rubbing and pressing against it.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Although a bunionette is visible to the eye and is fairly easy to diagnose, our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. A. Bil Buksh, may order an x-ray (which can be taken at either or Edmond or Norman office) to evaluate the extent of the bone deformity and also determine the cause. The podiatrist will also want to get a medical history and learn if bunions or bunionettes run in your family.
If you have a bunionette, you should look for shoes that have a wide toe box and avoid styles with high heels or pointed designs that will aggravate the bunionette. There are a number of non-surgical treatments the podiatrist can use and, while these treatments cannot remove a bunionette, they can bring relief and are usually tried first. These can include any or all of the following:
- Icing—applying ice to a bunionette can help reduced inflammation and pain
- Padding—placed over the bunionette, padding can protect the area from further damage and relieve pain
- Medications—nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. ibuprofen) and corticosteroid injections can be prescribed to help with pain relief and inflammation
- Orthotic devices—shoe inserts can help properly position your foot and take pressure off the protruding bone
If the bunionette continues to be painful despite all of the above treatments, the foot and ankle doctor may recommend surgery. The type of surgery will be determined by the severity of the deformity, your age, lifestyle and activity level. The sooner treatment for a bunionette begins the better the chances of slowing the progression of the deformity. If you have any pain at the base of your little toe or have noticed a bump forming contact us for an appointment as soon as possible.