What Is a Bunionette Deformity?
A bunionette (also known as a tailor's bunion) is a painful bony prominence, or bump, on the outside of the little (pinky) toe. Over time, the bunionette may worsen as the little toe moves inward and the fifth metatarsal (the bone connected to it) moves
outward. Rubbing between the bump and tight shoes may also cause a callus to
grow over the area. All bunionettes can cause pain and pressure on the outside of the foot, though often they do not cause symptoms.
After the surgery, patients may need to stay off their operated foot with no weight or heel weight bearing on it for a period of weeks. Patients will need to wear a post-surgical shoe or a short CAM boot on their foot to keep it protected after surgery. You may also need to use crutches or a walker depending on your
activity level and pain. In severe deformities, some surgeons will place a short leg splint to better protect the surgical correction. The specific amount of time that your foot needs to be protected after surgery depends on the type of surgery and
the surgeon's protocol. The operated foot will need to be elevated above the level of the heart as much as possible for at least the first few days. This will help to decrease swelling.
Your stitches are usually taken out 2-3 weeks after surgery. You will be asked to not soak your foot or get the surgical area wet until your stitches are out.
Your foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon may ask you to do knee and ankle exercises at home after surgery. This can help maintain your joint motion and flexibility. If your doctor thinks that you need physical therapy after the soft tissue and bone is
healed, he or she will discuss that with you.
Swelling is the last thing to improve for most patients after bunionette surgery. It can take 6-12 months for your foot's swelling to completely improve after surgery.
Risks and Complications
All surgeries come with possible complications, including the risks associated with anesthesia, infection, damage to nerves and blood vessels, and bleeding or blood clots.
Potential complications after bunionette surgery are rare. Possible problems include bleeding from the wound, injured nerves around the little toe, poor wound healing or bone healing if an osteotomy is done, and the possibility of recurrence of the bunionette.
If my bunionette deformity is treated without surgery, can I ever wear high heels and pointed shoes?
Wear pointed-toe shoes as little as possible. This does not mean that you cannot ever wear these shoes, but you should limit the time wearing them in order to decrease pain and the chance that the bunionette will get worse.
If I'm treated with surgery, will the deformity come back?
Most bunionettes do not come back after being treated with the right type of surgery. The surgery should correct the underlying cause of the problem. However, wearing shoes that are too narrow can still cause irritation and inflammation
at the operated little toe.
Original article by Umur Aydogan, MD
Contributors/Reviewers: Wen Chao, MD
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