Podiatrist Toronto, ON Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M.
586 Eglinton Avenue E. Suite 501 Toronto, Ontario M4P1P2
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Tailor's Bunion (Bunionette): Here's What You Should Know

Tailor's Bunion (Bunionette): Here's What You Should Know

Bunions are the better-known cousins of the bunionette. While bunions affect millions each year and represent one of the most prevalent sources of foot pain in North America, bunionettes and less common. If you have had a bunion, you know the pain it can cause and most likely also know what causes them and some possible treatments. How about bunionettes? Let's find out.

What is a Bunionette?

A bunionette, or Tailor's Bunion, is a protrusion or bump situated on the little toe's outer edge, at the fifth metatarsal head. The bump is precisely opposite to the location of a bunion, which typically occurs on the outer edge of the big toe, at the first metatarsal head.

A tailor's bunion gets its name from the way tailors used to sit cross-legged while working. Repeated pressure and rubbing on the foot's outer side, including the small toe, led to the painful condition now called a bunionette. However, as you may have guessed, bunionettes do not only affect tailors.

What Causes a Bunionette?

External and internal factors can cause bunionettes.

External Causes

  • Pressure on the foot from overuse or overexertion
  • Wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes
  • Injury

Internal Causes

  • Heredity including genetics and a history of the condition in your family
  • Foot structure and anatomy
  • Poor walking or foot movement mechanics such as limping, overpronation, or post-injury foot restrictions
  • Podiatrists do not know what exactly causes bunionettes as it can be one or a combination of the factors above.

How is a Bunionette Different from a Bunion?

Bunions occur when the bones near the large toe (first metatarsal) shift, leading to a deformed big toe joint with a prominent bump.

Bunionettes, on the other hand, form when the bones near the small toe (fifth metatarsal) shift, causing the little toe to point inwards.

The primary difference between the two is the location and the size. Bunions affect the big toe and are quite large, while bunionettes affect the small toe and result in a much smaller bump.

Nevertheless, both bunions and bunionettes can cause significant pain if left untreated.

Bunionette Symptoms

How do you know you have a bunionette?

Here are some symptoms to look out for:

  • An initial painless bump below the fifth toe on the outside of the foot
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Corn/callus on the bump
  • Inward turning small toe
  • Relief when you wear wide shoes or when barefoot
  • Infection if the corns break

People with bunionettes do not notice until they reach an advanced stage with constant pain. Having a foot doctor examine your feet can help determine whether bunionettes are forming.

Treating and Preventing a Bunionette

Once your podiatrist positively identifies a bunionette, treatment is necessary to prevent it from worsening.

Treatment options include:

  • Non-Surgical Treatments: changing footwear to shoes with a wide toe box or sandals, cold compresses, and padding to prevent further pressure
  • Surgical Treatments: Persistent symptoms might require surgery to realign the bone and return the foot to its former profile. In many cases, this can be performed through minimally invasive surgery.

When it comes to preventing bunionettes, simple measures like wearing well-sized footwear, resting your feet, and avoiding overuse can go a long way in keeping your feet healthy.

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