Many people are familiar with bunions, but not as commonly known is a related condition known as bunionettes. The key distinction between the two toe issues is their respective locations. Bunions develop on the inner edge of the foot, right where the big toe connects. Conversely, bunionette development happens on the outer edge, at the base of the little toe.
As is sometimes the case with medical conditions, bunionettes have a second name they are sometimes referred to as – tailor’s bunions. This additional moniker comes from the days when tailors would typically perform their work sitting barefoot and cross-legged on the floor while mending their customers’ clothing. If you think about it, this particular sitting position places the outer edges of the feet on the ground. Accordingly, it was thought that the pressure on the little toes’ metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joints—where they connect to the foot—caused bunionettes to develop.
There are not likely very many tailors who sit barefoot on the floor nowadays, yet bunionettes still happen. Further, this condition is not exclusively seen by individuals in any single occupation. As such, it is safe to deduce that there are other causes of bunionette development.
Most commonly, the source is simply inherited foot structure that makes you prone to the condition or a congenital defect (present at birth).
Bunionettes begin to develop when the MTP joint of a little toe faces excessive pressure or force. This causes an imbalance in the joint. The little toe will begin to angle inwards, which pushes its MTP joint to the outside. When left untreated, the toe can further drift inwards and cause the wayward joint to further protrude.
One contributor to bunionette progression is footwear featuring narrow toe boxes (which force the little toe to angle inwards). High heels can further complicate the situation by placing excessive pressure on the front of the foot.
Since the condition is progressive and will become worse if untreated, you should come see us here at McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group if you recognize the development of a bunionette (or bunion). We can provide the treatment you need to prevent the condition from worsening, and also perform surgical procedures to correct it, if you decide this is what you want. Call our Carmichael, CA office for additional information by dialing (916) 961-3434 or contact us online right now.