Tailor’s Bunion (Bunionette)

What Is a Tailor’s Bunion?
A Tailor’s bunion, also called a Bunionette, is a bony bump that involves the “head” of the 5th metatarsal bone near the base of the little toe.  While Tailor’s bunions have similar symptoms and causes to that of traditional bunions that occur on the inside of the foot,  they are less common.

Tailor’s bunions derived their 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.

Causes
Tailor’s bunion are often caused by an inherited abnormal structure of the foot. In these cases, changes occur in the way the foot bones are positioned, resulting in the development of an enlargement of the metatarsal head. The fifth metatarsal bone starts to protrude outward, while the little toe moves inward.  This results in either the head of the metatarsal bone becoming irritated or an actual bone spur forming in the area along the outside of the foot that can become inflamed and painful due to pressure.

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 caused by wearing shoes that rub against the enlargement, irritating the soft tissues underneath the skin and producing inflammation.

bunionette2

 

Diagnosis
A Tailor’s bunion is easily diagnosed during an exam because the bony bump is visually apparent.  In most cases, X-rays can be helpful to the foot and ankle surgeons at Foot Care Centers to determine the cause and extent of the deformity.

Non-Surgical Treatment
Treatment for tailor’s bunion typically begins with non-surgical therapies that include shoe modification or change, padding, oral anti-inflammatory medication, offloading, icing, injection therapy and custom made orthotic devices.

When Is Surgery Needed?
Surgery is often considered when the non-surgical treatment options discussed above fail to improve or eliminate the pain.  The foot and ankle specialists at Foot Care Centers will take into consideration the extent of your deformity based on the x-ray findings, your age, your activity level, and other factors to determine the best procedure or combination of procedures needed to adequately address the deformity. The recovery time from this type of surgery depends on what procedure(s) is performed.

If you think you may have a Tailor’s bunion please contact the Foot Care Centers to schedule an appointment today.

Pictures courtesy of The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons/FootHealthFacts.org

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