Do not be confused between a bunion and its lesser known counterpart known as Tailor’s bunion, or bunionette. Although both have very similar symptoms, the major difference is where the pain is located. When it comes to bunions, you will generally feel pain on the bump itself whereas for bunionettes, the pain will be felt inside the joint.
What Is It?
Tailor’s bunions are less common than regular bunions and you know you have it when you see and feel a prominent bump on the base of your little toe. It is basically the dislocation of the joint at the base of this toe. The reason for its name is because historically, they tended to plague tailors who sat cross-legged on hard surfaces for long periods of time. Because of the excessive pressure and incessant rubbing and friction, a painful bump would form at the base of the small toe and thus, the formation of a bunionette.
What Causes Tailor’s Bunion?
Today, bunionettes can be blamed not on sitting cross-legged on a hard surface, but rather on a variety of reasons. In many cases, a person’s natural bone alignment may cause the fifth metatarsal bone to protrude while the toe moves into the foot’s midline. This will cause a bunionette to form, causing pain, redness and swelling. An inherited predisposition to the deformity can also be blamed for the formation of these bumps.
Uncomfortable and inappropriate footwear are usually the culprits when it comes to aggravating and worsening these bunions. This is especially true when it comes to shoes that push your little toe close to the toe next to it. Constant pushing and pressing will cause the toe to naturally deform, especially when you have a congenital predisposition to this type of bunion.
How To Rid Yourself of Bunionettes
If you suspect that you have a bunionette, head to a doctor or podiatrist to get his or her advice. Do not attempt to treat it yourself until you seek medical consultation. Many doctors will choose not to resort to surgical intervention. This only happens when all other options have been exhausted. Even if your doctor recommends surgery, it will be for the purpose of eliminating pain and not for cosmetic reasons. Once you have sought out medical advice, here are several things that you can do to ease and perhaps rid yourself of bunionettes once and for all.
1. Invest In Proper Footwear
As the wrong type of footwear can and will worsen these bumps, it is best to throw out your old shoes and invest in more appropriate and comfortable pairs. When you are at the shoe store, look out for pairs that have a wide toe box. You should have at least a sliver of space between the toes. If your toes feel cramped in a particular shoe, discard that option and keep sourcing for ones with more space. Ladies, we are sorry to say that you need to avoid high heels and shoes with pointed toes. They may look good for a night out on the town but if they cause further aggravation to your bunionettes, there really is no point in donning them. If you absolutely have to, opt for footwear with heels shorter than two inches and avoid those with pointy-toed designs.
2. Purchase an In-Shoe Toe Spacer
Toe spacers are designed to be worn in your shoes. Whether you are working out at the gym or attending a conference, put on your toe spacers before you slip on your shoes. They are meant to place your fifth toe in the right orientation by pushing it away from your fourth toe. Ensure that your footwear has a toe box that is wide enough to accommodate the toe spacer. Bring it along when you are shoe shopping and do not be embarrassed to use it when trying on shoes. You will be surprised at how many other people have the very same problem as you. You can purchase your toe spacer online or head to your podiatrist for more information.
3. Ice The Area
At the end of a long day, your bunionettes and feet will no doubt be aching and swelling up. A great way to ease the redness is to put an ice pack on it. Not only will ice help to soothe the pain, it will also reduce inflammation. Ensure that you thoroughly wash your feet before placing the reusable ice pack on the affected areas. If you are seeking quick relief, wrap the ice pack around a thin sheet or towel beforehand. Do this at the end of the day to ease the tension and soreness.
4. Use Foot Padding
Foot padding such as bunionette pads are widely available at drug stores, at the podiatrist or online. These simple forms of relief can help lessen the pain. These paddings may help divert your toe back to its proper orientation. Keep in mind that this may only work if you are diagnosed early.
5. Walk Barefoot More Often
When you can, kick off your shoes and walk around barefoot instead. Walking barefoot, especially over uneven surfaces will strengthen your toes and their joints. This simple form of toe exercise will work wonders on your feet. The lack of shoes will relieve a lot of the pain. You can also don a pair of comfortable flip flops if you, like most people, feel uncomfortable walking around barefoot. Many sports brands now make barefoot shoes and you should consider investing in a pair.
6. Oral Medication & Injection Therapy
With the advice and guidance of a doctor, verse yourself in the myriad of non-surgical options available to you. Anti-inflammatory pills will help with the pain and inflammation whereas injection therapies that use corticosteroids may do the trick. Keep in mind that if you do decide to undergo surgery, there are several different options that you can consider. Also remember that your age, lifestyle and many others external factors play a role in the types of treatments that you can consider. Remember to get the green light from your doctor first before delving into this.