A tailor's bunion, or bunionette, is an enlargement on the outside of the foot at the base of the pinky toe. This area is the fifth metatarsal bone, the last of the five long bones in the foot. Tailor's bunions are less common than bunions, which develop on the inside of the foot near the big toe. There are similarities, however, in symptoms and causes of bunions and bunionettes.
This condition was named centuries ago when tailors sat with their legs crossed for long hours, allowing the prominent bone to rub against the floor, causing pain and pressure to the outside of the foot.
A bunionette is often caused by genetic factors changing the bony structure of the foot. The fifth metatarsal bone projects outward, while the pinky toe shifts inward. This change creates an enlargement on the outside of the foot, causing pressure and friction from narrow toed shoes.
Another cause of a bunionette is a bony spur, or an outgrowth of bone, on the outside of the little toe.
Symptoms of a bunionette are redness, swelling and pain. These symptoms are caused by wearing shoes that rub against the protrusion and irritate the soft tissues underneath the skin.
Tailor's bunion is easily diagnosed because the prominence is visually apparent. Dr. Radovic may order x-rays to determine the cause and severity of the deformity.
Tailor's bunion is first treated with non-surgical therapies.
Dr. Radovic may choose one or more of these treatments:
Shoe modifications. Reduce pressure to the bunionette by wearing shoes that have a wide toe box, and avoiding those with pointed toes or high heels.
Padding. Bunionette pads placed over the area can help reduce the pain.
Oral medications. Aleve, Motrin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may reduce pain and inflammation.
Icing. Applying an ice pack for set time intervals may lessen pain and inflammation. To prevent skin irritation, wrap the pack in a thin towel before icing the affected area.
Injection therapy. Corticosteroid injections may help treat the inflamed tissue around the joint.
Orthotic devices. Dr. Radovic will provide custom orthotic devices based on castings done in the office.
Surgery is an option when pain continues after other treatments have been tried. Dr. Radovic will consider the extent of deformity based on x-ray results and other factors such as age and activity level when determining the procedure or combination of procedures for each individual case. Recovery time will depend on the procedure or procedures performed.