Who gets a bunionette?
Like bunions, most bunionettes are caused by footwear problems--specifically wearing footwear that constricts the forefoot such as high-heeled shoes. Therefore, bunionettes are much more common in women than in men.
When looking at bunionettes, doctors separate the cause of this condition into intrinsic and extrinsic causes:
- Intrinsic Causes
Intrinsic causes of bunionettes are congenital problems that lead to a bowing of the long bones of the forefoot. In patients with this condition, the bone projects slightly outward causing the bunionette. Only a small percentage of patients with bunionettes are due to intrinsic causes.
- Extrinsic Causes
Extrinsic bunionettes are caused by external pressure on the forefoot. This pressure is usually due to footwear, but can have other causes. The name Tailor's bunion, also used to refer to a bunionette, comes from the fact that Tailor's used to have this condition because of the posture they held their foot while working. Bunionettes are most commonly due to extrinsic pressure caused by footwear.
The symptoms of a bunionette are pain due to pressure over the prominence on the outside of the foot. Patients usually only have symptoms when wearing shoes that rub on the irritated prominence. Bunionettes can cause more significant problems if the irritation rubs the skin, potentially causing breaks in the skin. In these patients, infection can get under the skin and cause further problems.
What is the treatment of a bunionette?
Treatment of a bunionette should always focus on non-surgical options. These include changing footwear, wearing shoes with a wider toebox or wearing sandals, and padding the bunionette.
In the few patients who have persistent symptoms despite these treatments, surgical correction of the bunionette is an option. Surgery is performed to realign the bone so that it does not point outwards.
Brown, C. "Bunionettes" eMedicine, July 13, 2004.