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Tailor’s Bunion

By October 4, 2012No Comments

A Tailor’s Bunion, or bunionette, is an enlargement of the bone on the outside of the foot (5thmetatarsal).  The bony prominence can cause increased pressure in shoes which results in pain, redness and swelling.  In addition, the joint can become irritated (capsulitis) or the soft tissue around the joint can become inflamed.

Historically, the tailor’s bunion gets its name from medieval times when tailor”s sat all day cross-legged with the outside portion of their feet resting on the ground. This repetitive position resulted in the irritation of the 5th metatarsal head causing local redness and pain.

The development of a Tailor’s bunion is the result of the structural development of the 5thmetatarsal, which is a hereditary condition.  There are three main causes of Tailor’s bunions:

  1. Enlarged 5th metatarsal head
  2. Lateral (outside) bowing of the 5th metatarsal
  3. Increase in the spacing between the 4thth metatarsals and 5

Tight shoes or shoes that are too narrow in the toe box can cause excess pressure on the 5thmetatarsal head and lead to irritation.

Conservative treatment would include possible shoe modification, orthotics, padding or anti-inflammatory medication.  However, x-rays and a physical exam are necessary to determine the type of deformity.

Surgical treatment can address the prominence of the 5th metatarsal head.  The exact procedure and post-op course depends on the type and severity of the Tailor’s bunion.  In general, the surgical procedures recommended by your Podiatric Surgeon will be designed to reduce irritation and re-align the joint.