a right foot with a bump on outside of little toeYou've noticed a bump has formed on the outside of your little toe and you have no idea why it's there. Very likely you have a tailor's bunion.

Causes

Like its cousin the "bunion", a tailor's bunion arises primarily due to faulty foot structure, typically flat feet which are genetic. Flat feet cause the small bones in the toe to come out of alignment. The toe joint sticks out away from your foot while your little toe turns inward towards your other small toes. Other factors that can cause a Tailor's bunion to form are previous injury and aging.  Fortunately this type of bunion is much less common than a regular bunion.

A tailor's bunion is also called a bunionette because it's much smaller than the bunion that forms off the side of the big toe. The tailor's bunion got its name from tailors who would sit cross-legged all day with the outside of edge of their feet rubbing on the ground. This led to a painful bump at the base of the little toe.

Like a regular bunion, a tailor's bunion can get worse over time and is often aggravated by wearing tight, pointy shoes with high heels.

Symptoms

Symptoms of a tailor's bunion include redness, swelling, numbness, and pain. Symptoms arise when the bunion rubs against your shoes causing inflammation and enlargement. These bunions can occur on both feet. Activities may be a limited as a result of the pain.

Treatment

Our office uses non-surgical treatments to bring pain relief and to prevent the tailor's bunion from getting worse. These treatments can include use of orthotics to correct the faulty foot mechanics and padding to prevent the bunion from rubbing against your shoes. Icing, steroid injections, and anti-inflammatory medications can reduce the swelling, inflammation, and pain.

In addition, it's crucial that you find shoes that have a wider toe box to prevent the bunion from rubbing. It's also important to avoid high heeled and pointy shoes. Some shoes we recommend for Tailor's bunions are the Alegria Paloma and also the Taos Ta Dah Mary Jane. You can also find these shoes at Sole Perfection in Shoreline and Everett.

You can also ask your shoe store to stretch your shoes or take your shoes to a shoemaker. 

Prevention

While you can't change your genetics or foot type you can choose the type of shoes your wear. If you have flat feet and you notice a Tailor's bunion starting to form, it's important to wear shoes with a wider toebox and either an over-the-counter insert like Powersteps or custom orthotics. While these won't prevent bunions from forming they can slow their progression.

Surgery

Surgery made be necessary if more conservative treatments don't work. Most often this will be the case if the tailor's bunion has progressed. Fortunately, most often this surgery can be done as an outpatient procedure. Some surgeries will only require removal of the painful soft tissue of the fifth toe. Others may involve cutting into the bone to straighten it.

Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.

Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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