Tailor’s Bunion, also called a bunionette, is an enlargement of the fifth metatarsal bone at the base of the little toe. The metatarsals are the five long bones of the foot. The enlargement that characterizes a tailor’s bunion occurs at the metatarsal “head,” located at the far end of the bone where it meets the toe. Tailor’s bunions are not as common as bunions, which occur on the inside of the foot, but both are similar in symptoms and causes. Interestingly, 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.
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.
Causes of a Tailor’s Bunion
Often a tailor’s bunion is caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. In these cases, changes occur in the foot’s bony framework that result in the development of an 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 actually a bony spur (an outgrowth of bone) on the side of the fifth metatarsal head. Heredity is the main reason that these spurs develop. 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. In fact, wearing shoes with a tight toe box can make the deformity get progressively worse.
Common treatments for a symptomatic Tailor’s Bunion include shoe modifications, custom orthotics, MLS Laser Therapy, Anti-Inflammatories, and cortisone injections. As this is a structural deformity, surgery maybe the only option to alleviate the pain and inflammation permanently. This would include either shaving down the prominent bone (“Cinderella Procedure”) or making a bone cut in the metatarsal. Consult with one of our surgeons to discuss what options are best for you at 706.999.9994 or request an appointment online!