Many people are familiar with bony bumps developing at the base of the big toe and the discomfort they can cause. What most people don’t realize is that a bump called a bunionette can develop on the other side of your foot and cause just as much discomfort.
Little Toe Trouble
Like its larger and more common counterpart, the bunion, a bunionette, or tailor’s bunion, is created by a metatarsal and toe sliding out of their proper alignment. Instead of the big toe, however, this condition affects your littlest toe. An issue with your foot’s natural structure allows the digit to change under pressure. The toe begins to lean toward its neighbors, while the fifth metatarsal it’s attached to leans in the opposite direction. This creates a bulge where the two meet.
As the little bump rubs against footwear, it becomes irritated and inflamed. Frequently this causes some swelling and enlarges the affected metatarsal head. The spot becomes painfully inflamed and may appear red. Shoes, especially if they are narrow, press against the bump and irritate it, making it worse. The rubbing can also lead to blisters or callus build up, both of which are uncomfortable as well. Since this is an issue with bone alignment, the condition tends to only get worse with time. You need treatment to intervene and prevent the progression of the problem.
Correcting the Problem
There are a variety of conservative therapies that can help you manage discomfort from a bunionette. You’ll need to have our team here at NorthPointe Foot & Ankle examine your feet carefully, using a variety of tests and diagnostic images to accurately diagnose your condition and its severity. Then we can help you begin management.
You’ll need to reduce the friction against the affected joint to lessen the inflammation and prevent problems like blisters. Pads can help protect the toe from uncomfortable rubbing. You will probably still need to adjust your footwear, though. Narrow, pointed toe boxes and styles that put pressure on the ball of the foot, like high heels, aggravate the problem and will need to be avoided. Orthotics may help manage any biomechanical problems that led to the condition in the first place.
Icing the joint also helps minimize the irritation and decrease swelling, relieving the pain. We may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications, especially if you continue to struggle with discomfort. If other conservative therapies aren’t helping, you may need direct injections of the pain medication. All of these measures address pain symptoms, but do little to correct the underlying problem. If the bunionette continues to be uncomfortable or to progress, you may need to have surgery to actually realign the bones and relieve the discomfort.
This condition is not as common as a regular bunion, but it can still be addressed using mostly conservative measures. You don’t have to live with the discomfort or let pain dictate your activities. If you’re struggling with a painful bump on the outside of your foot, don’t wait to seek help. Contact NorthPoint Foot & Ankle in Berkley, MI, for more information or an appointment by calling (248) 545-0100 or using our online form to contact us.