Despite the cute-sounding name, bunionettes are not harmless little foot problems. The condition can be small and painless at the start, but as the bump grows, so does the pain.
What causes a bunionette, and what can you do about it?
Bunionette Causes and Risk Factors
A bunionette is called a tailor’s bunion because the condition was once common among tailors — the position they sat in while working created pressure on the outsides of the feet and caused bony lumps to develop. But that’s not the reason people have this painful foot problem today.
In rare cases, these bony lumps can develop because of a congenital abnormality in the bones at the front of the foot. However, most bunionettes develop due to the patient’s footwear.
To be specific, the condition results from wearing shoes that constrict the forefoot, such as those with high heels and narrow, pointed toes. So it should come as no surprise that women are more likely than men to suffer from this condition.
Nonsurgical Bunionette Treatments
The first line of treatment for this condition is almost always nonsurgical.
Bunionette patients are typically advised to swap out their regular footwear for well-fitting, supportive shoes that are roomier in the toe area. The right shoes don’t squeeze the ball of the foot or the toes. For some patients, a larger size or a wider shoe might be necessary.
Wearing sandals, using custom shoe inserts or padding the affected toe can also help alleviate this painful foot problem.
If symptoms don’t improve after trying nonsurgical bunionette treatments, surgery may be necessary.
A number of different surgical procedures can be used to treat these deformities, but they all share the same basic goal — to realign the problematic foot bones and decrease the size of the bony bump so that the foot problem doesn’t return.
Usually, bunionette surgery is an in-office, outpatient procedure. Afterward, patients need to protect the area. This may mean staying off the foot and wearing a splint, leg boot or hard-soled surgical shoe for anywhere from three to 12 weeks.
Fortunately, most bunionettes don’t return after surgery, unless the patient reverts to wearing the same problematic footwear that caused the original problem.
Do you have a bunionette? For expert treatment and relief from your foot pain, make an appointment with Dr. Joshua Hunter at northern Utah’s Comprehensive Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
As a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Hunter has the expertise to provide effective care for a full range of injuries, disorders and diseases of the feet and ankles. Contact our Salt Lake City office and schedule a consultation to discuss treatment for your bunionette today.