What is a Tailor's Bunion?
Tailor's bunion, also called a bunionette, is an enlargement of the head of the fifth metatarsal bone near the base of the little toe. Tailor's bunions are not as common as bunions, which occurs at the big toe, but both are similar in symptoms and causes.
The symptoms of tailor's bunions include redness, swelling, and pain at the site of the enlargement. These symptoms occur when wearing shoes that rub against the enlargement, irritating the soft tissues underneath the skin and producing inflammation.
Why do we call it "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.
Causes of a Tailor's Bunion
A tailor's bunion is caused by an inherited change of the mechanical structure of the foot. 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.
- Shoe modifications. Choose wide shoes, and avoid those with pointed toes or high heels.
- Oral medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may help relieve the pain and inflammation.
- Padding. Pads placed around the area may help reduce pain.
- Icing. An ice pack may be applied to reduce pain and inflammation.
When is Surgery Needed?
Surgery is often considered when pain continues despite the above approaches. Surgery is highly successful in the treatment of tailor's bunions. If the above is not effective, then the excessive bone spur needs to be surgically shaved or remodeled.