Tailor’s Bunion or Bunionette

A tailor’s bunion is a bony bulge that forms on the outside of the foot at the 5th metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ), where the 5th toe attaches to the foot. This is often in response to a misalignment of the two bones making up the MTPJ – the phalangeal and metatarsal bones. When this happens, typically the bone in the fifth toe has started to angle inwards, towards the other bones, which then pushes the MTPJ out of position.

The consequence of the shifting bones is the easily noticeable bump at the outside of the foot near the base of the small toe. Many times, the bump is sore, swollen, and reddened. There is also an increased probability of calluses and corns, especially when the 5th toe overlaps or underlaps the 4th toe.

Tailor’s Bunion Risk Factors

Injuries, inherited foot structures, and congenital foot deformities (those present at birth) are often cited as contributing factors to tailor’s bunion development. There is some unresolved debate regarding this matter within the medical community, but narrow, tight-fitting shoes—particularly high heels—might also be to blame. At the very least, it is reasonable to determine that improperly fit footwear does not help the situation and likely contributes to worsening of the condition.

Here in the mountains of Colorado, another contributing factor is improperly fitting ski boots and footbeds.  Repetitive pressure from boots on the bony prominence will often cause a focal swelling over the area called a bursa or in skier slang a “Skier’s Sixth Toe”.  This bursa is often painful to touch and in some situations may cause the skin to break down causing an open wound.  Ski instructors, ski patrollers, and others who spend long days standing or walking in their ski boots, or skiing in a wedge position or side slipping, are particularly susceptible to development of a tailor’s bunion.

Treatment for Tailor’s Bunions

There are many treatment options available for tailor’s bunions. The treatment that proves to be most effective for a particular patient varies based on severity and pain experienced. Typically, we will begin with nonsurgical methods to treat tailor’s bunion symptoms. These include medication, icing regimens, shoe modifications, and custom orthotics.  In acutely painful situations, a corticosteroid injection may be helpful in decreasing inflammation.

It is always our hope that conservative care will be effective, but there is a chance that a tailor’s bunionectomy will be needed to provide optimal relief.  The goal of surgery is to provide comfort by restoring the toe and metatarsal to a natural position. This can be accomplished through a variety of methods, including:

  • Removing part of the bony prominence.
  • Removing swollen tissue around the 5th MTP joint.
  • Realigning the long bone to correct the abnormal angle of the MTP joint.

Professional Tailor’s Bunion Treatment in Avon & Frisco, CO

When you have one of these common foot deformities, you need treatment to relieve pain and address any other present symptoms. Eagle-Summit Foot & Ankle is ready to provide the care you need, so contact us today by calling our Avon, CO location at (970) 949-0500 or our Frisco location at (970) 668-4565. You can also use our online form to schedule your appointment at either of our Colorado offices.

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