A bunionette is similar to a bunion, but on the outside of the foot (below). It is
sometimes referred to as a "tailor's bunion" due to the fact that tailors once
sat cross legged all day with the outside edge of their feet rubbing on the ground. This
produced a pressure area and callus at the base of the fifth toe.
Today a bunionette is most likely caused by an abnormal prominence over the fifth
metatarsal head rubbing on shoes that are too narrow. Some folks have a widening of the
foot (below) as they grow older, until the foot "splays". This can cause a
bunion on one side of the foot and a bunionette on the other if they continue to wear
shoes that are too narrow. The constant pressure produces a callus and a thickening of the
bursa over the prominence, leading to a painful knob on the outside of the foot.
The symptoms of a bunionette include pain and difficulty buying shoes that will
accomodate the deformity. The swelling in the area causes a visible bump that some people
The diagnosis of a bunionette is usually obvious on physical examination. Xrays
(below) may help to see if there is a splaying of the foot, and will help decide what
needs to be done if surgery is necessary later.
Treatment initially is directed at obtaining proper shoes that will accomodate the
width of the foot. Pads over the area of the bunionette may help relieve some of the
pressure and reduce pain.
If all else fails surgery may be recommended to reduce the deformity. Surgery usually
involves either removing (below) the prominence of bone underneath the bunion to relieve
pressure - or to realign the fifth metatarsal if there is splaying of the foot.
To remove the prominence a small incision is made over the bump. The
bump is then removed (below) and smoothed to reduce the pressure from the shoe. If your
doctor decides that the angle of the metatarsal is too great, the bone may be cut and
pinned in a position to decrease the splaying of the foot.
After surgery, you will usually be fitted with a post-op shoe. This shoe
has a stiff, wooden sole that protects the toes by keeping the foot from bending. Any pins
are usually removed after the bone begins to mend (usually three or four weeks).
Of course no two people are the same. We would be happy to discuss
your unique foot condition. You can always reach us:
1. Call and talk to a Doctor
2. Send your concerns and questions to us via E-mail
3. Visit and participate in our chat room
4. Arrange for a free in-office consultation.