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What is a Bunionette?

A bunionette, commonly known as a tailor’s bunion, is a bony lump on the outside of the base of the little toe. This is generally caused by the shift or enlargement of the joint connecting the fifth metatarsal bone on the outside of the foot to the base of the little toe. In some cases, this may be caused by the formation of a bone spur along the fifth metatarsal bone head.

What is Bunionette Surgery?

Bunionette surgery is an outpatient surgical procedure that involves shaving off part of the bony lump and realigning the displaced fifth metatarsal to restore normal foot function.

Indications for Bunionette Surgery

Bunionette surgery is indicated as a last resort when conservative measures fail to resolve the painful symptoms. These measures can include wearing a shoe with a wide toe box, using anti-inflammatory medications, applying ice to reduce swelling, wearing orthotics, or participating in physical therapy.

Preparation for Bunionette Surgery

  • Your doctor will conduct a detailed medical evaluation prior to your surgery to rule out the presence of any conditions that might interfere with treatment.
  • Several preoperative tests, such as blood and urine tests and other studies may be ordered to check for any abnormalities.
  • Foot X-rays may be ordered to plan the surgery properly and also to check for the presence of any bone abnormalities.

Bunionette Surgery Procedure

  • The surgical procedure is generally conducted on an outpatient basis.
  • You will be administered anesthesia as needed.
  • The bony protrusion will then be trimmed away by the surgeon.
  • Your fifth metatarsal bone will be realigned and part of the bone will be removed, if necessary, to point the toe outwards in the proper direction.
  • A screw and plate combination may be used to hold the realigned bone in place.

Post-operative Care after Bunionette Surgery

  • You should keep your foot elevated as much as possible for the first few days after surgery, applying ice as needed to relieve pain and swelling.
  • You may require a cast or a specialized boot to keep your foot steady for the first few days. Your doctor can prescribe the use of special orthotic supports or insoles for comfort.
  • Your doctor may give you pain relief medications if needed.
  • Your doctor may recommend physical therapy and a rehabilitation protocol as part of the recovery process.

Side-effects of Bunionette Surgery

Bunionette surgery is a relatively safe procedure; however, as with any surgery, there may be some minor risks and complications, such as:

  • Pain 
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Anesthetic complications
  • Damage to nerves and blood vessels
  • Bleeding or blood clots
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