If you've recently noticed a bony lump on the side of one of your feet near your little toe, then your GP will have explained that this is a type of bunion, known as a bunionette. While regular bunions grow on the inside of a foot near the big toe, bunionettes occur on the outside of the foot.
Chances are your bunionette is giving you some pain, especially when you wear shoes, and you may be hoping that your GP can tell you how to get rid of it. While your GP talks to you about surgical options to shave or cut the bone overgrowth that causes these bunions, they may not think that you should take a surgical route just yet.
Rather than organising surgery, your GP is more likely to recommend that you see a podiatrist first to see if you can find ways to deal with the bunionette and the pain it's giving you. How can a podiatrist help?
Dealing With Pain
If your bunionette has been playing you up for a while, then your podiatrist may recommend that you ice your foot regularly and take anti-inflammatory painkillers for a short period. This should minimise your initial symptoms, at which point you can look for ways to stop the bunionette flaring up so badly in the future.
Like bunions, bunionettes hurt most when you wear shoes that are too tight around the toes. If you switch to wearing broader shoes that accommodate all your toes without squishing them together, then your bunionette won't hurt as much.
This doesn't mean you need to dump all your current shoes and buy new ones immediately. Your podiatrist can recommend stretching devices that you can put into some shoes to make more room for the bunionette to sit without being pressured.
If your shoes aren't suitable for stretching, then wearing pads over the bunionette also reduces footwear-related pain. Pads stop shoes from directly pressing on the bunionette.
Changing Pressure Points
In some cases, podiatrists use orthotic devices to manage bunionette pain. Orthotics can change the way you put weight on your feet. If you divert weight away from your little toe area, then your bunionette won't be under so much pressure when you wear shoes and will hurt less.
Make an appointment to see a podiatrist before you do anything else. Any or all of these methods can make living with this small bunion more manageable without the need for surgery.