Did you know that the bunion has a smaller “sibling?” It’s named, fittingly, a bunionette. April 10 is National Siblings Day, which is a time to talk about siblings of all kinds, include these less-than-fun ones that affect your foot’s comfort and ability to wear normal shoes.

Like some siblings, these two deformities are very similar. In fact, a bunionette is just like the bump you develop at the base of your big toe—but it’s a smaller bulge and found on the outside of your foot. Fortunately, you can also care for your bunionette using the same conservative methods you would for its “big brother” and still relieve pain!

It’s easy to care for your bunionette when you understand what aggravates it. Like bunions, these small bumps are problems with your foot’s natural mechanics. Pressure on the ball of the foot and the toes encourages the littlest digit to slide out of alignment, forming the bulge in the joint. Pressure from shoes is one of the biggest contributing factors. Narrow styles, high heels, and pointy toe boxes all squeeze the feet and encourage the small toe to slide out of alignment.

The good news is that you can care for your bunionette and get real relief for your discomfort using conservative methods. Most people do not need surgery. Instead, they manage the condition through treatments like:

  • Shoe changes – Avoid wearing high heels or narrow, pointy footwear. This puts excessive pressure on the ball of your foot and the smallest digit, which can make a bunionette worse.
  • Padding the bump – Add a little extra cushioning to protect the bulge on the side of your foot from rubbing against the inside of your shoes.
  • Icing the pain – When your bunionette hurts, apply an ice pack to it. Ice decreases swelling and inflammation, alleviating some pain.
  • Orthotic supports – Sometimes you need a little extra support. Custom orthotics can be crafted to correct biomechanical problems and reduce pressure on parts of your feet.

Although smaller and less common than bunions, you don’t have to let bunionettes cause pain! Instead, use easy, noninvasive therapies to take care of your feet. Our team at Carolina Podiatry Group can help you master these methods and eliminate your discomfort. Just call (803) 548-FEET for our Indian Land office or (803) 285-1411 for our Lancaster location to make an appointment.

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