Also known as a bunionette, tailor’s bunion is a bump or a prominence on the outside of the foot, at the base of the little toe. Tailor’s bunions are rare compared to common bunions which tend to occur on the inside of the foot, although the causes and symptoms are similar.
Tailor’s bunion, just as its name suggests, received its this reference years ago as tailors would sit cross-legged all day on hard surfaces with the outside edge of their feet tending to rub on the ground. Due to the constant rubbing, a painful bump appeared at the base of the little toe.
Today’s tailor’s bunions are mostly brought about by structural problems in the feet and poorly fitting shoes.
Causes of Tailor’s Bunion
Tailor’s bunion is mostly caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure in the foot. In such cases, changes occur in the bony framework of the foot and this can lead to the development of an enlargement. The bone of the little toe begins to protrude outward as the little toe moves inward. This shift results in the creation of a bump on the outside of the foot which becomes easily irritated when a shoe presses against it.
Sometimes, a tailor’s bunion can be an outgrowth of bone (a bony spur) on the side of the little toe’s head.
Tailor’s bunion is also aggravated by conditions such as poor ankle strength or tight calf muscles, poor fitting shoes, tight shoes or high heels which place the foot at an odd angle.
Tailor’s bunions may start forming when an individual is at a young age and may not be painful until much later.
Symptoms of Tailor’s Bunion
The main symptom of a tailor’s bunion is a swollen, hard bump that is located on the outside of the foot on the little toe. The bump usually grows gradually, and it may be red in appearance and painful, which may be worsened by wearing uncomfortable shoes.
Tailor’s bunion can appear on either one or both feet and it is possible to have both regular bunions and tailor’s bunions at the same time.
Diagnosis of Tailor’s Bunion
It is usually easy to diagnose tailor’s bunion because of the visible protrusion on the little toe. The doctor may order x-rays to help in determining the cause and extent of the condition.
Treatment of Tailor’s Bunion
Treatment for tailor’s bunion includes the following:
- Icing: Icing the problem area may reduce the pain and inflammation. However, wrap the ice pack in a thin towel instead of placing it directly on your skin to avoid possible ice burns.
- Padding: Placing bunionette pads over the area can help in reducing the pain.
- Shoe modification: Avoid high heels or shoes with pointed toes and instead go for shoes that have a wider toe box.
- Injection therapy: Injecting corticosteroid in the area can treat the inflamed tissue around the joint.
- Orthotic devices: Custom orthotic devices may be recommended by the doctor in some cases.
- Surgery: When the above treatments fail, surgery may be considered. The surgery for tailor’s bunion is usually straight forward and most individuals leave the hospital immediately after treatment. The type of surgery, however, varies from person to person.
At King’s College Hospital Dubai, we focus on offering an exemplary service, from initial consultation through to final diagnosis and treatment and beyond. Our multidisciplinary team of expert doctors, nurses, physio therapists are here to offer tailored management and treatment of your condition, and to answer any questions that you might have throughout your time with us. Whatever you need us for, we’re only a phone-call away.
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