Bunionette (Tailor's Bunion)

A bunionette is a bony bump on the outer side of the foot at the base of the fifth toe. A bunionette can be sore and painful. Also known as a tailor's bunion, there are many surgical and nonsurgical options for tailor's bunion treatment.

What You Need To Know About a Tailor's Bunion

What is a Bunionette?

A bunionette deformity, also called a tailor's bunion, occurs on the outside of the foot at the base of the fifth toe (or pinky joint.) Less common than bunions, a bunionette forms gradually as the base of the fifth toe becomes partially dislocated.

As pressure increases, the toe turns inward, exposing the head of the metatarsal to the outer side of the foot. Eventually this causes an enlargement of the toe (metatarsal head) and/or a change in the angle of the joint bones. Patients with bunionettes experience discomfort and limitations when standing or walking, especially in high heels or shoes with pointed toes.

Finding the best tailor's bunion treatment starts with a visit to Resurgens Orthopedics. Schedule an appointment with our Foot & Ankle centers now!

What Causes a Bunionette?

There are many bunionette causes. A tailor's bunion may be due to any imbalance caused by congenital structural foot problems, loose ligaments, or tight calf muscles.

Certain footwear such as high heels and shoes with pointed toes may also cause bunionettes, because they place constant pressure on the toes. Bunionette symptoms are usually aggravated by wearing shoes that are too narrow. This constant rubbing and pressure creates irritation in the affected area.

Bunionette Symptoms

Bunionette symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition. Typically bunionettes begin with a noticeable prominence or bump on the outside of the foot. Other bunionette symptoms include

  • Burning and aching pain occurring at the joint from inflammation and swelling

  • Aggravation caused by wearing tight shoes, high heels, and poorly fitted shoes.

  • Pain that usually improves with the removal of the shoes

  • Calluses caused by shoes rubbing against the protruding bump

How is a Bunionette Diagnosed?

The physicians at Resurgens Orthopaedics easily identify bunionettes upon sight. Typically, the bunionette's characteristic protruding bump is an indicator of the condition. However, the use of diagnostic technology like x-rays helps visualize the degree of damage to the bone and surrounding tissue. Diagnostic information helps your physician plan the best tailor's bunion treatment.

During your exam, your physician may inquire about any pre-diagnosed foot conditions that may have led to the injury and test the range of motion available to your foot. This may cause some discomfort, but will not last long.

Bunionette Treatment

In most cases, tailor's bunion correction begins with non-surgical options such as changes in shoe wear, padding the protrusion to protect it against further damage, or injections that alleviate the pain and inflammation. However, some cases of bunionettes require surgical removal of the protrusion.

Non-Surgical Treatment

Treating bunionettes without surgery often provides sufficient pain relief and keeps the foot functioning properly. Options for non-surgical treatment include:

  • Avoiding shoes that place stress on the toes

  • Wearing pads on the outer side of the foot to help relieve pressure and cushion the foot

  • Using corticosteroid injections to reduce any swelling tissues

  • Icing the joint to slow inflammation

  • Taking anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed by your doctor to alleviate pain and swelling

  • Using orthotic devices to support the joint properly

If these options are ineffective, your physician may suggest surgery to remove the bunionette and realign the toe.

Surgical Treatment

Surgery may be recommended if non-surgical options have not yielded optimal results. When non-surgical options to relieve the symptoms, our surgeons consider the level of deformity occurring in the joint, the patient's age and activity level, as well as other factors before deciding which surgery best aids the patient.

Surgical options include:

  • Osteotomy - Minimally invasive procedures like scarf and akin correction can improve angular irregularity.

  • Removing the prominence (or bump) - A bunionectomy relieves symptoms in most small deformity cases.

Recovery from Surgery: Patients undergoing surgery can expect the following of their surgical/post-surgery recovery process:

  • Surgery is usually performed as an outpatient (You go home the same day as the procedure).

  • Most patients can put weight on the foot with a supportive shoe or boot immediately.

  • Full recovery usually takes between 6-12 weeks.

Finding tailor's bunion treatment starts with a visit to Resurgens Foot & Ankle Center! Our physicians and surgeons want to restore your quality of life and motion through orthopaedic care. Schedule an appointment with our Atlanta-area experts now!

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