Frequently asked questions
What are Tailors Bunions?
Tailor’s bunions are also referred to as "bunionetts". They are essentially the mirror image of a bunion which affects the big toe although their cause may differ.
A tailors bunion is often first noticed because of a prominence of the fifth metatarsal bone at the base of the little toe. The metatarsals are the five long bones of the foot. The prominence 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 normal bunions, which occur on the inside of the foot.
Why are they called Tailors bunions?
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.
What causes Tailors bunions?
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, resulting 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. 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.
What symptoms might I experience?
Much like bunions (hallux valgus), tailors bunions produce symptoms associated with pressure from footwear. The enlarged bump over the outside edge of the foot where the little toe joins the foot. The is prominent bone can cause pain and swelling. If left untreated the skin can become damaged or ulcerated. Typically a bursa may form in this area adding to the pain and discomfort.
What are the best treatments for this problem?
For many patients simply finding shoes which are wider is enough but for some the constant rubbing of the enlarged joint means corrective surgery is necessary.