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Bunionettes vs. Bunions

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BunionsNo matter what you might have planned, we all hope you are able to have an enjoyable, long weekend to celebrate Labor Day. For many people here in our greater Sacramento community, and everywhere across the United States, this is a chance to spend some quality time with family. You might have cookouts (be mindful of what you eat if you have gout!), go camping or enjoy any of the many outdoor activities our area has to offer.

Spending time with family can be a different experience for everyone. One thing is for certain, though – when you are around relatives it can be easy to spot similarities (and differences). Bunions and bunionettes are somewhat related, and they have several similarities, but also a key difference.

The best place to start is how these conditions develop in the first place. For a long time, people thought bunions were the byproduct of female footwear. This was a fairly logical assumption, since shoes featuring high heels place excessive pressure on the front of the foot and narrow, pointed fronts angled the big and little toes inwards. However, this is not the whole story!

Bunions and bunionettes each develop on account of instability in the respective metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints for the big and little toes. The MTP joints are where the toes connect to the foot. Footwear choices can exacerbate an existing condition, but they don’t cause them.

In addition to the root cause of “inherited foot structure,” these toe deformities share several symptoms, including a protruding bump that is often reddened, swollen, and the source of discomfort or pain while wearing shoes. The key distinction between the conditions is the location of this bump. A bunion develops on the inner edge of the foot, whereas a bunionette develops on the outside.

Both deformities are progressive in nature, which means they will worsen over time when left untreated. Treatment can be done conservatively, with the use of medications, icing, and orthotic devices, but the only way to truly correct either deformity is with surgery.

Of course, we can discuss all of your treatment options when you come to see us at McDowell Podiatry Group. You can connect with our Carmichael, CA foot doctor office by calling (916) 961-3434, or feel free to take advantage of our online form

Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.
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