Can You Get a Bunion on Your Little Toe?

No matter where it is, a bunion is never fun. Most people associate bunions with the big toes, and for good reason— this is where they’re most often found. The truth is that bunions can occur on any toe, including the little toe. But how does this happen, and why? 

This article discusses bunions on little toes and looks at how they occur, what the symptoms are, and how they may be able to be treated. For personalised advice, contact our team at Foot Health Clinic today.


What is a Bunion?   

A bunion is a small, bony growth where your outer toes— the big toe and little, ‘pinky’ toe— meet your foot. Typically, a bunion simply referred to as a bunion means a bunion on the big toe, while one on the little toe is called a tailor’s bunion or a bunionette. These growths are often uncomfortable and may even be painful, and may make it difficult to wear particular types of shoes.


What is a Tailor’s Bunion? 

A tailor’s bunion, or a bunionette, is the same as a regular bunion but on the little toe rather than the big toe. It’s called that because many centuries ago, tailors sat cross-legged for hours upon hours a day, which meant their little toes rubbed on the ground. As a result, bunions often formed in these areas.


What are the Symptoms of a Bunion? 

Bunion symptoms tend to be the same, whether on the big toe or the little toe. Symptoms include: 

  • A swollen bump on the outside of the affected toe
  • The bump growing larger in size
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • The toe turning inwards


What Causes Bunions? 

There are many different causes of bunions. Today, tailors don’t often sit cross-legged on the floor, but if you do sit in this position frequently, it’s possible to develop a bunion (or two). Ensure you move and switch up your position often to alleviate the pressure.


Other causes of bunions include: 

  • Hereditary conditions that affect the bones in your feet
  • Tight calf muscles that impact the way you stand and walk
  • A low fifth metatarsal bone (the long bone on the outside of the little toe)
  • Inverted feet (walking with your foot pointing out)
  • Splayed feet (loose ligaments)
  • Arthritis
  • Wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes


Can Bunions Be Treated? 

Addressing a bunion, whether on a big or little toe, requires seeing a podiatrist. A podiatrist will be experienced in diagnosing and addressing bunions with the aim of getting you back on your feet with as little pain as possible. 

The specific treatment your podiatrist may recommend for you will depend on a variety of factors, including where the bunion is, its size, and how it affects you. Treatment options include: 

  • Exercises— aimed towards improving joint mobility and strengthening foot muscles
  • Joint mobilisation— in an effort to reduce stiffness and improve function where the bunion is limiting movement
  • Taping— designed to prevent further bunion progression
  • Custom orthotics— designed to slow bunion progression
  • Shoe stretching— to reduce friction and widen or mould shoes to fit
  • Foot Mobilisation Technique (FMT)— in an effort to allow for better movement, joint function, and alignment
  • THOR Low Level Light Laser Therapy— aimed towards reducing pain, stimulating healing, and reducing inflammation
  • Dry needling— in an effort to alleviate pain and possibly relax tight calf muscles
  • Surgery— if more conservative treatments have failed

It’s crucial to see a podiatrist as soon as possible if you notice a bunion on your foot. This is because early intervention is the best method for preventing the condition from worsening, and may help you to avoid needing surgery.


Can Children Get Bunions? 

People of all ages may develop bunions, from children to older adults. Bunions in children are known as juvenile bunions and should be addressed as quickly as possible in an effort to stop the bunion from getting any larger. If left untreated, juvenile bunions tend to grow and become more painful, increasing the likelihood the child may need surgery once their bones have fully grown. 

Bunions in children are typically inherited from a parent or grandparent, though they may be caused by conditions such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, neuromuscular disorders such as Cerebral Palsy, or low muscle tone disorders such as Down Syndrome.


Can You Prevent Bunions? 

While it isn’t always possible to completely prevent a bunion from forming, there are ways you may be able to reduce your risk. Podiatrists recommend wearing supportive shoes with enough room in the toe box area, avoiding narrow shoes and shoes with pointed ends that squeeze your toes together, and making a podiatry appointment as soon as possible if you suspect you have a bunion.


Want to Say Bye-Bye, Bunion? 

Bunions are often uncomfortable, so don’t put up with them any longer than necessary! Whether your bunion is old or new, the best day to make an appointment to address it is today. With our wide range of treatment options and a friendly, experienced team here at Foot Health Clinic, our aim is to put that pep back into your step. Book your appointment online and come in to see us for dedicated bunion care.





Foot Health Clinic is a Brisbane kids, family and active adventurers podiatry clinic. We are recognised Foot and Ankle Professionals.


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Samford Central Shopping Centre, Cnr Mt Glorious Rd & Mary Ring Dr
Samford Village QLD 4520

07 3289 6050

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