Bunionettes: Little Bumps—Big Problems

A bunionette may sound like something cute and small, but really it’s just the cousin of the bunion, which is found on the big toe. This condition develops on the little toe. These foot deformities may cause you great pain, discomfort, and frustration because of the difficulty when trying to wear shoes. Get help before it gets worse.

Why Do I Have a Bump on My Little Toe?

This bump, also known as a “tailor’s bunion,” is often due to genetics and poor foot structure. If either of your parents suffer from them, you might too. The fifth metatarsal head in your foot will begin to protrude outwards as the little toe is pushed towards the other toes. This results in a bony bump on the side of the foot that can become even more irritated by rubbing up against the inside of a pair of shoes.

The aggravation is worse when the shoes you wear are tight and pointy (such as ballet flats or high heels). For this reason, women are more likely than men to develop both types of bunions. If you are noticing redness, swelling, pain, or a bump on the side of your small toe, you probably have a bunionette forming there.

Treatment for a Tailor’s Bunion

We like to begin treatment by using conservative methods first. For starters, take a look at your footwear. Stop wearing those high heels with pointed toes and try changing to shoes that have more room in the toe box area and don’t rub against the bunionette. You can also protect the bump by wearing a protective pad from the pharmacy. If you have swelling, you can try applying ice covered in a thin cloth to the area.

If you have tried all of these remedies and nothing is working, then it may be time to move on to other options. You may benefit from specially designed orthotics, or from medication injections. They may be able to help by decreasing inflammation in the surrounding tissue. If these treatments still are not doing the trick, it may be time to consider surgery.

When Surgery Becomes Necessary

Surgery should never be entered into lightly.  Like any operation, bunionette surgery has its own set of potential complications. It is typically done on an outpatient basis, which means you can go home the same day.

There are different types of procedures that may be used depending on the type, size, and severity of your deformity. Your doctor will take the time to explain all of your options to you before any decision is made. If you decide bunionette surgery is right for you we will walk you through it step by step.

After the surgery is over comes the post-operative period. It is very important to follow all of our instructions for the best outcome. This means keeping the wound clean and dry, and staying off your feet for the recommended period of time. It is a good idea to prepare yourself and your home for this type of inconvenience.

Seeking Medical Help

A tailor’s bunion is no reason to be uncomfortable all the time. We can help you treat it either conservatively or through the use of surgery. Find out more by calling Dr. Mitchell Wachtel, podiatrist North Andover, at (978) 794-8406 to schedule an office visit for one of our three Massachusetts locations (Haverhill, North Andover, and Lowell, all located near Cambridge.)