Bunionette pain, or classic tailor’s bunion, is an enlarged or prominent bump that forms on the outside of the foot, near the fifth toe. Most tailor’s bunions are inherited and form as the joint responds to abnormal pressure on the foot from tight, restrictive, or flat shoes without support. Bunionettes can cause major irritation and pain ranging from dull to sharp, and can impact daily activity, similar to bunions.
We try to recommend conservative treatment to patients as the first level of care when it comes to treating bunionettes, rather than surgery. Certain conservative methods could do wonders for alleviating the discomfort that come with bunionettes, but the correct method depends on the individual.
Factors such as the type of foot issues, the patients age, and the patients lifestyle all come into consideration when choosing between conservative and surgical options. If a patient chooses conservative treatment and that treatment fails, surgery should be presented as the next viable option, but it is ultimately up to the patient to decide what is right for them.
Correcting this problem serves two purposes. First and foremost is the pain relief from both the bone pressure and irritated nerve on the outside of the foot in restrictive shoe gear. But just as popular is also the cosmetic outcome that both removes the unsightly ‘bump’ as well as any skin discoloration.
When it comes to a permanent fix — bunionette surgery is quite simple. The majority of these deformities can be a simple removal of the prominent or sharp edge of bone. This can be performed by a trained foot surgeon at an outpatient surgical facility using a very light anesthesia.
The bone structure causing the pressure is either remodeled and smoothed down, or repositioned. Incisions are minimal (an average of 1 cm to 2 cm), sutures are placed under the skin and steri-strips (surgical tape) are removed after two weeks.
Conservative measures can be taken to treat bunionettes and relieve some of the pain, such as the following solutions and lifestyle changes:
Since the pressure or callus that is formed from the pressure creates foot pain by pressing on the nerves in this area, treatment on the conservative level starts with wider, or more supportive shoes with softer materials on the outside.
Taking anti-inflammatory medication can temporarily help with the chronic pain that your bunionette causes, but isn’t a long-term solution to healing the bunionette.
You can purchase cushions and padding from your local drugstore to wear over the foot and help ease discomfort caused by your bunionette. These layers should be easy and comfortable to wear under shoes for everyday use.
Custom orthotics and arch support inserts can also help relieve some of the pressure placed on the outside of the foot, making it more comfortable to walk in shoes without surgical intervention.
Post-operative periods for the procedure involve partial to full weight bearing, as well as returning to wearing shoes, in the days after the sutures are removed. If the bone is not only remodeled, but also repositioned, then partial weight bearing is allowed after one to three weeks of non-weight bearing with crutches.
The more serious deformities are usually inherited and can involve an osteotomy, or bone cut, to move the head of the fifth metatarsal bone into a more normal anatomical position. Healing for the osteotomy can take up to eight weeks, and it is recommended not to engage in exercise while weight bearing for four to six weeks.
A bunionette is most commonly of genetic origin, unless there is a prior injury to this area. The 5th metatarsal head (prominent bone on the outside of the foot) presses on the nerves in restrictive shoes causing pain.
Bunionette surgery recovery ranges anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks. 3 to 6 weeks without an osteotomy surgical (bone fracture), and 6 to 12 weeks with an osteotomy depending what level of activity the patient performs.
Some supports or padding can help, but a bunionette correction requires surgery.
Bunionette surgery costs the same as bunion surgery — sometimes slightly less since there is rarely a surgical device involved. A low $500 deductible with coverage for the procedures may be the only deductible cost. A high deductible with partial coverage after can become quite expensive. Cash pricing includes hospital costs ($1,500 to $10,000), anesthesia costs ($500 to 1500), equipment costs ($500 to $1,5,000), and surgeon costs ($750 to $1500).
Preventing bunionettes from getting worse can be done in only a few ways. Since the shoe pressure is the main issue, a wider shoe with expandable fabric can help. Arch supports, or custom molded orthotics can stop pronation and the foot from sliding outwards inside of the shoe.
“So happy I found this place. Doctor Moore, he did my foot surgery. He’s very nice!!! And the staff is outstanding !!!!! Going to miss them ?”
In this video, our patient discusses her experience with a cosmetic bunionette surgery at Moore Foot and Ankle Specialists.
If you’re experiencing painful bunionette conditions that are negatively impacting how you get around in your daily life, we can help. Contact Moore Foot and Ankle Specialists for a consultation today.
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