Bunions are common foot problems and people are becoming increasingly familiar with them. However, your big toe isn’t the only digit that can dislocate and create joint problems. Although it’s less common, a bunionette can create a similar and painful bump on the littlest toe.
Bunion’s Little Cousin
A bunionette, or tailor’s bunion, is very similar to the more common bunion that affects the first joint of your big toe. Occasionally a bone spur creates the bump on the outside of your foot, but usually the condition involves the little toe and the metatarsal it’s attached to sliding out of alignment. Typically this is the result of faulty mechanics. Pressure strains your foot and causes changes in the structure. The fifth digit—your littlest toe—begins to tilt toward its neighbors while the metatarsal leans away. This creates a bulge at the joint where the two meet.
This problem is generally aggravated by the shoes you wear. Shoes with narrow or pointed toe boxes squeeze the digits together and encourage your littlest toe to dislocate from its natural position. The sides of the shoes can rub against the bump and irritate the joint further, causing swelling and discomfort. The side of your foot will ache and may appear red from the irritation. Over time, this can make wearing normal shoes, and even spending too much time on your feet, very uncomfortable for you. This will only get worse unless the deformity is treated.
Alleviating the Pain
The good news is that you can manage the discomfort and keep the bunionette bulge from getting larger by taking care of the problem early on. Dr. Noah Levine will examine the bump and use diagnostic images like X-rays to determine how serious the deformity is. Conservative treatment for these revolves around decreasing the discomfort and preventing the bump from progressing.
The most common treatment is to change your regular footwear. Avoid shoes with pointed or narrow toe boxes. Skip styles with raised heels or insufficient arch support, too, since these can aggravate the condition. Instead, wear shoes with wide toe boxes and the right kind of midfoot stabilization. Orthotics may help control abnormal biomechanics and reduce the pressure on the forefoot that contributed to the condition. You may still need to pad the tailor’s bunion to reduce the uncomfortable friction and rubbing against it, though.
Ice the bulge to reduce the swelling and irritation regularly. This will also help relieve some of the discomfort. Our team may recommend anti-inflammatory pain killers if your discomfort is persistent. Occasionally direct injections of medication can help reduce the swelling and irritation as well. If conservative measures fail to improve the pain or prevent the problem from worsening, you may need surgery to correct the deformity.
A bunionette is a small but uncomfortable condition that can make wearing shoes and spending time standing and walking fairly uncomfortable for you. You don’t have to resign yourself to living with the pain, however. You can take steps to alleviate the discomfort and control the condition. Let Absolute Foot Care Specialists help you. Contact our Las Vegas offices by calling (702) 839- 2010 or using the website to make an appointment with us.