The Difference Between Bunions and Bunionettes

Last updated: 08-09-2020

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The Difference Between Bunions and Bunionettes

We’ve talked about bunions on the blog before, but we haven’t talked much about bunionettes. Turns out that a lot of people don’t know the difference between a bunion and a bunionette, so we thought we’d take a closer look at the two foot conditions, and give a general overview of treatment and prevention strategies.
Bunion Vs. Bunionette

The difference between a bunion and a bunionette is very simple. Whether you have a bunion or bunionette depends on the location of the bony bump. Bunions develop at the metatarsophalangeal joint in the big toe, while a bunionette develops on the MTP joint in your pinky toe. Other than the location of the development, the pathology behind their development is the same.

Both bunions and bunionettes form when there is an issue with the distribution of normal balance forces in our feet. If a person has a gait problem, puts too much pressure on one foot or wears shoes that channel the stress of our body to the joints and tendons in our feet, bunions can develop. Oftentimes bunions run in the family, but they are not a genetic condition passed down from parent to child. Instead, certain traits like an abnormal gait or foot problems like flat feet or low arches have a genetic root, and these can leave a person predisposed to bunion development.
Bunion and Bunionette Treatment and Prevention

Preventing bunion development is preferred to treating the condition, so we’re going to share a few prevention tips before diving into the treatment options. Here are some ways to prevent the development of bunions:

Wear wide, comfortable shoes. Avoid shoes with a narrow toe.

If you have flat feet, consider a supportive orthotic insert or a shoe with a supportive sole.

If you have a foot condition, visit a foot doctor because it may be altering your gait and predisposing you to bunions.

If you begin to feel the onset of a bunion, stick some padding or tape between the joint and the side of your shoe to prevent rubbing, which can lead to swelling and inflammation which exacerbate the condition.

Treating a bunion is similar to preventing a bunion because you want to help prevent the bunion from growing larger, so consider the above tips during your treatment phase. Other ways to care for a bunion include using ice to reduce swelling, taking anti-inflammatory medications, taking part in physical therapy or ultrasound therapy, getting custom orthotics that support your feet, and if all else fails, undergoing bunion surgery. Surgery involves removing the bony enlargement and realigning the joint, and it is one of the more common procedures we perform at Silverman Ankle & Foot!


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