illustration of a bunionette or tailor's bunion | Experienced Twin Falls PodiatristA bunionette, also known as a tailor’s bunion, is an often painful and unsightly bump located on the outside of the foot near the little toe. Bunionettes that are left untreated can become swollen, red, and painful. Fortunately, Dr. Matt Wettstein has the expertise and experience to help people with bunionettes.

Causes of Bunionettes

A variety of factors can cause bunionettes. Some common causes of bunionettes include:

  • Tight shoes. Wearing tight-fitting shoes that put constant pressure near the little toe can cause bunionettes.
  • The physical makeup of your foot. Physical characteristics such as an unusual bowing of the long bones in the front of the foot may cause bunionettes.
  • Genetics. Bunions and bunionettes run in some families. You may also be more likely to develop a bunionette if you have had a bunion.
  • Medical conditions. Conditions such as arthritis can cause bunionettes. The joint inflammation associated with these conditions affects the bone and tissue around the little toe, creating a bony bump on the outside of the foot.

Symptoms of Bunionettes

Bunionettes can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, such as:

  • Swelling and tenderness. Swelling and tenderness around the bump are common symptoms of bunionettes. The area may become red or discolored due to friction or pressure from shoes.
  • Pain. Pain when walking, wearing shoes, or moving your toe is another symptom of bunionettes. This pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain.
  • Trouble walking or fitting into shoes. Difficulty walking or fitting into shoes may also be a symptom of bunionettes. The bump near the little toe may make walking or fitting comfortably in shoes difficult.
  • Changes in the foot’s shape. Bunionettes can cause abnormal bone growth, leading to changes in the shape of the foot near your little toe.

These symptoms may get worse if the bunionette is left untreated.

Diagnosing Bunionettes

A podiatrist is the most qualified professional to diagnose bunionettes, as they specialize in treating foot and ankle problems. They are best equipped to determine if any underlying conditions are causing the bunionette and what treatment options can be used to reduce pain and improve mobility. A podiatrist may diagnose a bunionette by using one or more of the following diagnostic tools:

  • Physical exam. During the exam, the podiatrist will look for an abnormal bony protrusion on the outside of the foot near the little toe. The podiatrist may also examine how the patient is walking and assess their range of motion to determine the available treatment options that would be best for the patient.
  • Imaging tests. X-rays and other imaging tests may also be used to diagnose bunionettes. These tests can help determine if any underlying conditions are causing the bunionette.

Treating Bunionettes

Bunionette treatment plans are individualized based on the severity of the condition, the patient’s age and activity level, and overall health. Bunionette treatment plans may include the following:

  • Non-surgical options. There are several non-surgical options available for bunionette treatment. Some of the non-surgical options that may be considered include wearing wider and more comfortable shoes, using orthotics or padding to reduce the pressure on the affected area, using ice, using cortisone injections to reduce swelling, and using other medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Surgery. Surgical options such as joint fusion, tendon repair or release, osteotomy (moving bones into a better position), and arthrodesis (joint fusion in the foot) to realign the toe may also be considered.