What is a Tailor’s Bunion (Bunionette)?
Before trying to figure out what to do and how to cure a Tailor’s Bunion, it is important to know what exactly a Tailor Bunion is. A Tailor’s Bunion, also known as Bunionette, is a prominence formed on the outer part of your little toe that is very painful. This is the main difference with other types of bunions because those are usually formed on the big toe. They are usually characterized by pain, redness, and inflammation near the little toe.
A Tailor’s Bunion is often caused by a faulty structure of the foot. The fifth metatarsal bone starts to stick out making the little toes move inwards. Because of the change in the alignment of your foot, an enlargement of the outside of the foot takes place. You can easily find out if you have Tailor’s Bunion or not because it is visually obvious.
This complex deformity of the foot comprises of:
- An inward rotation of the little toe
- A bump on the outside of the little toe at the fifth metatarsal head
- Outward angulation of the fifth metatarsal bone
Why is it called a Tailor’s Bunion?
Do you want to know where the name Tailor’s Bunion comes from? The name came as such because years ago tailors worked while sitting on the floor with a cross-legged position. Due to this position, the side of their foot would be pressed on the ground during long periods of time. This pressure on the side of their foot led to an enlargement of the little toe and of the bone below causing a bump to form. The next painting illustrates the way tailors used to sit.
Causes of Tailor’s Bunion
In order to avoid a Tailor’s Bunion, one must know the most common causes of it and to be able to differentiate a Tailor Bunion from a bone spur that usually shows on the fifth metatarsal bone.
There is no just one cause of a Bunion but often a Tailor’s Bunion is caused by genetic (inherited) factors that lead to abnormal mechanical foot function. In such a case, changes in the foot’s bone framework occur resulting in the developing of an enlargement. This enlargement shifts the fifth metatarsal bone outward and the little toe inward creating a bump on the outside of the foot that becomes irritated whenever a shoe is pressed upon.
Besides genetics, there are several other causes that can make you develop a Tailor’s Bunion:
- Flat feet
- High heel shoes
- Arthritis (fifth toe joint)
- Excessive rolling of the foot (pronation)
- Injury to the outside of the foot
A Tailor’s Bunion has the same symptoms as of a regular bunion but one of the most common signs that you are suffering this condition is a pain at the site of your enlargement. Other symptoms of Tailor’s Bunion include swelling, pain and redness of the affected area. These symptoms mainly are aggravated when your shoes are rubbed against the enlargement because this action irritates the soft tissues underneath the skin producing inflammation.
A Tailor’s Bunion can easily be diagnosed because it is visually apparent. X-rays may be done in order to comment on the exact problem, its cause and the intensity of it by the foot and ankle surgeon.
Non – Surgical Treatment
When it comes to Tailor’s Bunion we often scratch our heads and think about the best way to treat it. Among the best treatments that can help you get rid of this painful condition you can find surgical and non–surgical methods. Surgery, however, should not be the first option as a treatment for Tailor’s Bunion and the treatment typically commences with non–surgical therapies. Your foot and ankle surgeon may prescribe you whether a surgery is required or not otherwise a treatment can be done through non–surgical methods. These therapies inlude:
1. Shoe Modifications:
Change your shoe style. It is one of the most important parts of treatment of Tailor’s Bunion. Choose shoes that are a wide fit and have a wide toe box that does not put pressure on the fifth metatarsal head. Avoid shoes that have pointed toes or are high heels
2. Arch Support:
You can also use an arch support in your shoes to transfer the pressure off of Tailor’s Bunion. If you wear sandals and slippers most of the time, try getting the ones that have an exceptional arch support that helps in reducing the pressure from the Bunionette.
3. Toe Separators:
Using toe separators between fourth and fifth toes will help in reducing the pressure between the toes.
Wearing the right type of socks can help you in two ways. First, it helps to reduce in the rubbing of your Tailor Bunion by decreasing the friction and second, they provide cushioning. You should avoid using cotton socks, though, as they produce high friction.
5. Injection Therapy:
Corticosteroid injections may be used to treat the inflamed tissue around the joint.
Bunionette pads are easily available in the medical stores. These pads should be placed over the area to help reduce the pain. The pads are designed to protect the bump on the foot and to slightly separate the fourth and fifth toes.
7. Orthotic Devices:
Custom orthotic devices are sometimes provided by the foot and ankle surgeon in some cases. They help in shifting body weight off of painful areas. These devices are worn inside the shoes.
An ice pack may help in reducing the inflammation and pain. Rather than placing ice directly on your toe, it is better to wrap the pack in a thin towel. Ice your bunion for about 10 minutes every evening.
10. Oral Medications:
NSAIDS or Non – steroidal anti – inflammatory drugs may be used to help relieve the inflammation and pain.
Surgery is only considered as a last resort. The option of bunionette surgery is taken into consideration when the pain has existed for a long period of time with no improvement at all from non–surgical methods. A Tailor’s Bunion surgery is similar to a regular bunion surgery and is only advisable after the foot and ankle surgeon has taken into consideration your age, the extent of your deformity, the level of your activity and other factors. The recovery period after the surgery depends on the bunion procedure performed.