Tailor's bunions, also known as bunionettes occur on the outer side of the foot by the little toe. There are smaller versions of the bunions that appear at the base of the big toe. They form the same way and share many of the same symptoms. Depending on the type of shoes that are worn and how much time a person is forced to spend on their feet, your level of discomfort can range from mild to severe. There are many self-care steps you can take to alleviate your symptoms and allow you to do the things you normally do on a day to day basis.
Dr. Leonora Fihman is a board-certified podiatrist who has the answers to all of your questions concerning bunionettes. Her concierge service allows her to treat her patients both in her office or in their homes, depending on their level of need and ability to travel.
What Causes Tailor's Bunions?
Bunionettes have many different causes. A person who sits cross-legged is a good candidate for bunionettes. Sitting in a way that forces the side of the foot to be pushed into the floor with extreme pressure will cause a bunionette to form. Wearing shoes that fit poorly are also a common cause. When shoes are loose-fitting and are constantly sliding on the foot, the amount of pressure placed on the toes and edge of the foot can cause both bunions and bunionettes. Shoes that fit too tightly can also place pressure on the same areas.
Various types of activity can also lead to the formation of bunionettes. People who practice yoga or perform ballet on a regular basis are at a much higher risk for bunionettes. Many yoga poses require you to sit with the sides of your feet pressed into the floor or a thick mat. These poses are held for several minutes at a time which can result in a steady increase in pressure. The intense pressure and the longer the pose is held, the more pressure is placed on the foot. Depending on what part of the foot hits the surface of the ground, even runners may have an increased risk of bunionettes forming.
Genetics and the amount of leg strength you have may play a role in whether or not you will have bunions. There are also many foot and ankle conditions that can contribute to the formation of bunionettes. Plantar fasciitis that causes you to walk on your toes or sides of your feet can cause bunionettes to form. Pronation of the foot due to weakened ankle joints can also be a contributing factor.
The first sign of bunionettes is normally a small lump that is tender to the touch. Bunionettes can be small kernels or they can turn into huge bumps. While bunions form over time, they can be extremely sensitive even in their earliest stages. The slightest pressure can cause pain, making it difficult to wear even the most comfortable shoes. If you tend to walk on the outer portions of your feet, walking can lead to discomfort and inflammation which can eventually affect other areas of the feet.
Bunionettes are characterized by bumps that appear at the base of the little toe. Similar to the bunions that form at the base of the big toe, they form due to excessive pressure being placed on the toes and sides of the foot. The more pressure that is placed on the foot, the larger and more painful the bunionettes to become. When wearing even loose fitting shoes, the bunions may become irritated and sore. Wearing shoes that are too tight is not only painful but may cause sores or calluses to form increasing your level of discomfort.
With some people, small bunionettes may produce no pain or discomfort at all. As they continue to grow, however, the level of discomfort may increase. This can often depend on genetics and if there are any other foot conditions present. Every person reacts differently to pain. If a person has a health condition that affects one foot, using the other foot to compensate for the difference in strength can result in the formation of bunionettes as well as many other conditions. The level of pain you experience from bunions or bunionettes will normally depend on your own tolerance, but will also be affected by the choices you make in terms of shoes, activities, and self-care.
Bunionette Treatment Options
A pair of shoes that fits properly and supports all of the arches and curves of the foot is an essential part of any bunionette treatment plan. In some instances, orthotics may be recommended. This is especially true in cases of plantar fasciitis and pronation of the foot. Orthotics will provide additional support for the arches and will fit snugly to the bottom of the foot, preventing the shoe from slipping or moving with each step.
Bunion pads can be placed over bunions as a cushion when wearing shoes. Shoe stretchers can also be placed in the shoes to keep them stretched out so they will not put excessive amounts of pressure on the bunionettes or the toes. Gel inserts for your shoes may also be helpful, but unlike custom-made orthotics, they will not fully support the arches of the foot. An insert's main job is to simply distribute the weight of your foot and take pressure off of certain areas.
Pain and inflammation are extremely common with bunionettes. Over the counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory) medications and pain relievers will help to control your discomfort. Foot soaks, the use of bunion pads or padding, and foot massages are also capable of providing relief for many of the symptoms associated with bunions. Elevating your feet when you're resting will also help to relieve your pain.
Many treatment options can be used in conjunction with one another to form a complete and effective treatment program. Worst case scenario, extremely large or sensitive bunionettes may require may have to be surgically removed. Dr. Fihman will only recommend surgery when no other treatment options have worked. Bunionette removal is a fairly simple procedure and can be performed in the doctor's office.
Self-care is extremely important when dealing with bunionettes and other debilitating foot conditions. Foot stretches and regular exercise are essential in maintaining strong legs, ankles, and feet. It also helps to keep blood circulating throughout the area providing the oxygen and nutrients that are needed to keep the feet healthy and strong. Walking or exercising in bare feet is extremely helpful.
Foot soaks can relieve tension and stress that builds up in the feet and can cause pressure to be more pronounced. Elevating the feet while you're resting is also beneficial. Walking barefoot can relieve the pressure caused by wearing shoes all day. It also helps to massage the feet. This keeps the feet flexible allowing them to move freely as you walk. Deep tissue massage will also increase circulation to the area.
The best way to prevent both bunions and bunionettes is to wear shoes that fit properly. Shoes that fit properly are snug, provide firm support to the arches and curves of the feet, and remain in place when you walk or run. They don't slide or shift. Proper fitting shoes will not rub the heel of your foot or cramp your toes. When your shoes fit well, you have ample room to move your toes without feeling cramped or confined. If you want additional cushion, place get inserts into your shoes for added comfort.
Be cautious when exercising. If yoga is your preferred exercise of choice, try to avoid poses where the sides of your feet are constantly being pressed into the ground. Wear a soft pair of shoes with bunion pads over the sensitive areas. Try to rest your feet during the day. If you are required to stand for long periods of time, make sure you wear comfortable shoes that allow your feet to move freely. You should also discuss the options offered by orthotics. A custom-made pair of orthotics are form-fitted to your foot and its contours. This eliminates excessive amounts of pressure and will allow your foot to remain as flexible as possible.
If you begin to notice small bumps on the outer edges of your feet that are sensitive to the touch and are gradually becoming larger, contact Dr. Leonora Fihman. As a board-certified podiatrist serving residents in southern California, she can effectively diagnose and treat bunionettes as well as many other health conditions that affect the feet and ankles. With her concierge service, she can come to your home and offer the same quality treatment you would receive if you had visited her office in the Encino area. When bunionettes become a problem, call and schedule your appointment today!