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Tailor’s Bunion

Understanding Tailor’s bunion

A Tailor’s bunion is similar to a bunion which is a bump on the outside of the foot. The main difference is that it occurs at the base of the little toe, instead of the big toe. It is known as a tailor’s bunion because many years ago, this deformity is found to be common amongst the tailors who worked sitting on the ground with their legs crossed and the side of the foot pressing into the ground. This pressure caused an enlargement of the little toe and the formation of the painful bump. Tailor’s bunions are not as common as regular bunions but they are similar in terms of signs, symptoms, and causes.

Sign and symptoms of tailor’s bunions

The common symptoms include redness, swelling, and pain over the enlargement joint. These symptoms usually occur when shoes that are too narrow or pointed in the toe box are worn. The soft tissue underneath the skin of the enlargement joint often been irritated and inflammation occurs following constant rubbing against such poor footwear and mechanics.

What causes tailor’s bunion?

Tailor’s bunion often occurs when the ligaments that hold the bones of the foot together are more flexible than normal. These can be secondary to genetics; poor lower limb biomechanics - eg. excessive foot pronation, flat feet; trauma; aging and arthritis.

Tailor’s bunion is often aggravated by direct pressure to the lateral aspect of the little toe with poor footwear. Just like bunion, which is a foot deformity that is likely to progress over time, continued wearing of poor footwear can also speed up the development of the tailor’s bunion.

What can be done to my tailor’s bunion?

These are some of the most conservative treatment options available with the goal of reducing the symptoms associated, eg. pain and inflammation.

  • Icing and the use of anti-inflammatory medication.

  • Change in footwear. Avoidance of high heeled or narrow fitting shoes.

  • Shoe padding or footwear modification to accommodate the bony protrusion.

  • Orthotics therapy to reduce pressure on the fifth toe. Orthotics are a very effective treatment for managing the symptoms and slowing the progression of the deformity. It is often recommended prior to any surgery options.

Should any of the above conservative treatments failed to relieve your symptoms, surgical options should be considered. Our podiatrist can refer you on into the good hands of a surgeon for surgical management. Contact us here.

Is there any way I can prevent tailor’s bunion?

As always, prevention is better than cure. Though your family history may increase your risk of developing a tailor bunion, wearing good supportive footwear and orthotics therapy can reduce your risks. Be sure to always wear roomy shoes with a wide toe box. Narrow, pointy shoes that can squeeze your toes together should be avoided at all cost. When in doubt, speak to our podiatrist today.

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