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Family Foot & Ankle

Bunionettes: Who Gets Them and How Do I Prevent Them?

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How to Prevent a BunionetteSometimes just a little of something is enough—good or bad. For example, the tiny, recreated desert and tropical forest in Cincinnati’s Krohn Conservatory, located in Eden Park, is always a favorite place to escape the winter doldrums. On the flipside, bunionettes may be little (and relatively rare), but even a tiny bump at the base of your pinky toe might be more than you can handle.

The exact rate of incidence of this condition is not actually known accurately, as many people with the problem do not seek treatment. We do know that they are much less common than “regular” bunions, but that being said they form for the same reasons, cause similar symptoms, and carry similar risk factors.

Bunionettes tend to run in families (because an underlying structural foot defect, genetically inherited, is a necessary component), but they’re also almost completely unheard of in societies that don’t wear shoes, or only wear simple and practical shoes. This issue, then, appears to be largely a phenomenon of Western countries, where narrow, constricting, high-heeled shoes are fashionable. These also seem to be a necessary component of developing pinky toe bumps, which is why 9 out of 10 cases are in women.

So how do you know if you’re at risk? If you know that other members of your family have had these issues, there’s a decent chance your foot structure might be susceptible as well. Whether you know of any family members with the condition or not, though, it’s a good idea to keep those pointy, fashionable shoes on the shelf or in the closet, wearing them only sparingly, and choosing a comfortable, roomy, well-fitting pair for your everyday activities. What you don’t want is to spend all day in footwear that cramps your toes together, rubs painfully against the sides of your feet, and/or shoves all your weight toward the forefoot. Not only does this increase your risk of developing a bunion or bunionette, but a host of other painful foot conditions as well.

Want more foot care tips? Follow our blog or check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest! Need help with a nagging foot problem? Give the experts at Family Foot and Ankle Center a call at (513) 728-4800 or (859) 282-1572 to set up an appointment.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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