Tailor's Bunion

Q & A

Causes

A Tailor’s bunion is the result of an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. In these cases, changes occur in the foot’s bony framework, resulting in the development of a bony enlargement. The fifth metatarsal bone starts to protrude outward, while the little toe moves inward. This shift creates a bump on the outside of the foot that becomes irritated whenever a shoe presses against it.

Sometimes a Tailor’s bunion is a hereditary structural deformity in which the 5th metatarsal head is abnormally enlarged. These structural Tailor’s bunion deformities or bony enlargements can result in partial dislocation of the 5th toe. Regardless of the cause, the symptoms of a tailor’s bunion are usually aggravated by wearing shoes that are too narrow in the toe, producing constant rubbing and pressure.

Symptoms

The symptoms of Tailor’s bunions include redness, swelling, and pain at the site of the enlargement. These symptoms are exacerbated by tight or narrow shoes that rub against the bony enlargement, irritating the soft tissues underneath the skin and producing inflammation and pain.

Diagnosis

Tailor’s bunion is easily diagnosed because the protrusion is visually apparent. X-rays may be ordered to help the foot and ankle surgeon determine the cause and extent of the deformity and for surgical planning.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Non-surgical treatment for Tailor’s bunions is typically aimed at symptomatic relief and can be very successful. Dr. Tien may recommend one or more of the following:

  • Shoe modifications

  • Padding

  • Oral NSAID medications

  • Icing

  • Corticosteroid injection therapy

  • Custom orthotic devices

 

When Is Surgery Needed?

Surgery is often considered when pain continues despite the above approaches. In selecting the procedure or combination of procedures for your case, Dr. Tien will take into consideration the extent of your deformity based on the x-ray findings, your age, your activity level, and other factors. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed.

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What Is a Tailor’s Bunion?

A Tailor’s bunion, also called a bunionette, is a prominence of the fifth metatarsal bone at the base of the pinky toe. It is very similar to a traditional bunion that occurs at the base of the big toe, except the Tailor's bunion is in the "opposite" location on the outside of the foot. 

Why Is It Called a Tailor’s Bunion?

The deformity received its name centuries ago, when tailors sat cross-legged all day with the outside edge of their feet rubbing on the ground. This constant rubbing led to a painful bump at the base of the little toe that we know call a Tailor's bunion.

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