A bunion and bunionette are both bony protrusions that occur on the sides of the foot. The main difference between the two is the location where they develop. A bunion happens on the inside of the foot near the joint of the big toe; a bunionette, also called a tailor’s bunion, happens on the outer side of the foot near the pinky toe. Both bunions and bunionettes can be treated conservatively and often do not require surgery unless they interfere with your daily activities. Difference between bunions and bunionettes

Causes of Bunions and Bunionettes

Bunions and bunionettes are both caused by similar factors, including:

  • Heredity
  • Arthritis
  • Foot structure
  • Wearing shoes that are tight or narrow in the toes

You may not feel pain when a bunion or bunionette first forms, but you will see a visible bump on the side of your foot that indicates one has developed. As the deformity worsens, the pain will likely worsen also. In addition, you may have symptoms such as:

  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Pain when wearing shoes

Treatment Options

Treatment for bunions or bunionettes is the same for both conditions. You can try the following conservative options for either type of deformity:

  • Less constraining footwear. Wear shoes that fit well and have extra room in the toe bed. You can also try stretching your shoes with a shoe stretcher to give extra room in the area of the bump and to help relieve pressure.
  • Padding. You can pad the area of the bunion or bunionette before wearing shoes to help prevent rubbing and discomfort.
  • Custom orthotics. Orthotics can be used inside your shoes to add support and take pressure off the bunion or bunionette.
  • Medication. To help with inflammation, you can try a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or to reduce pain, try an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Ice. Using cold compresses or ice can help reduce swelling in the area of the bunion or bunionette and can also help reduce pain.
  • Heat. Heat can be used to provide relief from pain.

In more severe cases where conservative treatments do not provide relief or the deformity worsens, a podiatrist may recommend surgery. Surgery is done to correct the condition by shaving the bunion or bunionette or by realigning the bone that is causing the protrusion.

Contact Us

If you have pain and discomfort from a bunion or bunionette, contact Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. To set up an appointment, you can fill out our online contact form, or call our office today.