Occupational hazards can result in many types of injuries and health conditions. Even with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in place, there are risks when you work. Of course, OSHA laws are a fairly modern creation, but on-the-job risks and health complications were also a fact of life long ago. In fact, tailor’s experienced a foot condition due to their long hours of sitting on the floor with crossed legs—a tailor’s bunion. Today, we call this a bunionette.

Smaller, Not Better

A bunionette is a foot deformity that is closely related to its more famous relative—the bunion. While not as common, this misalignment of the fifth metatarsal bone (the one that involves the small toe) has the same characteristic bump. Poor foot mechanics make the joint of the pinky toe susceptible to shifting out of its proper place. When this happens, the toe leans in and the bone moves out.

Not Just for Tailor’s Anymore

It’s not likely that you’re sitting on the floor at home hemming your pants, so what causes this condition? How do you know if you have one? Paying attention to your feet on a daily basis will help you notice problems at their onset. A protrusion near the small toe that is red and swollen is a likely indication of this foot concern. Discomfort often occurs when the area comes into contact with your shoes. The resulting friction can make you dread putting on footwear in the morning.

If you develop this deformity of the foot, it’s likely that your parents are to thank. The way your feet work is directly impacted by your heredity. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes a bone spur will develop in this area causing symptoms that mimic those of a bunionette. Either way, the shoes that you choose can aggravate and accelerate it. Make sure that your footwear allows plenty of room for your toes, and is the correct size. Wearing too-small, too-tight, too-high styles can cause pain and lead to other issues such as ingrown toenails and hammertoe.

Do Bunionettes Require Surgery?

Not always, and conservative treatments are always the first avenue in resolving any type of foot or ankle condition. The first step is to make a correct diagnosis through a physical examination of the foot. X-ray imaging is sometimes used to determine the exact cause of the bony protrusion. Once our podiatrists understand the root of your foot pain, they will partner with you to determine the best course of treatment.

A pair of new shoes may be the best place to start. Combine your new kicks with custom orthotics that allow the foot to distribute weight across the foot in an equitable manner, and you may be well on your way to ending your foot pain. Other options include pads, taping, icing, and corticosteroid shots. Some cases do require surgical intervention, but not until all other options have been exhausted without success.

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS and Dr. Shine John, DPM, FACFAS are your Austin Bunion Experts. Don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from finding a resolution to your foot pain. Work with the best at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists to determine the course of treatment for your unique situation. Our staff will listen to your concerns, and walk with you through each stage of treatment. Call (512) 328-8900 today to schedule an appointment, or visit us online.

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists