What is a Bunion and Bunionette?
A bunion is a bony protrusion located on the medial (closer to midline) side of your foot at the bottom of your big toe joint where it meets the rest of your foot. In medical terms, a bunion lies at the junction of the first metatarsal and the big toe, called the MTP (metatarsophalangeal) joint. A bunionette, sometimes referred to as a Tailor’s Bunion, is located on the other side of the foot. A bunionette is located on the lateral (away from midline) side of your foot at the base of the little toe where it meets the bones of the foot. A Tailor’s bunion is less common than a Bunion, but are quite similar in the causes that make them appear and the symptoms that they cause.
What Causes Bunions and Bunionettes?
The exact cause of bunions and bunionettes is unknown, as experts disagree on several theories that can lead to the formation of a bunion. There are risk factors and other factors that are associated with bunion pain, however. These are one or all of the following:
- Genetics, a bunion or bunionette may be an inherited abnormality that you are likely to develop later in life
- Excessive stress placed on the foot, or an injury
- A congenital condition which involves a deformity of the foot that is present from birth
- Tight fitting shoes and frequently wearing high heels may be a risk factor, but this is debated by experts
- Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition that affects joints and can cause them to deform
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What are the Symptoms of a Bunion or Bunionette?
Bunions and bunionettes are not difficult to diagnose, because of the physical deformity that will be present. There will be obvious deficits to look for physically, but this does not mean that an accurate diagnosis from your doctor and imaging techniques, such as an x-ray, is not important. Other symptoms along with pain may be:
- Frequent development of corns and calluses
- Swelling and erythema (reddening of skin) around the joint
- Decreased range of motion of the big toe/little toe
- A bulge that appears on either side of the foot
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How Do You Get Rid of a Bunion or Bunionette? | How to Get Rid of a Bunionette or Bunion
Getting rid of a bunion will require surgery. There are things that you can do to decrease the pain and stress placed on a bunion and prevent it from developing further, but surgical intervention will be necessary in order to completely remove and correct the deformity if that is your goal. Surgical intervention is necessary when the bunion has progressed to a point that it is affecting your daily life by pain failing to be relieved when walking even when wearing flat, comfortable shoes. Surgical intervention will especially be necessary when you begin to experience bunion pain even at rest. Bunion surgery is called a bunionectomy. There are various types of surgery that may be performed for bunion removal depending on the severity of the bunion and how significantly it is affecting function.