Tailor’s Bunion


Bumps disrupt surfaces. They add extra width that would not have otherwise been there. On your body, this puts structures at risk for issues with friction and irritation. Sometimes, however, these bulges appear in places you might not expect, like the outer side of the foot. This Tailor’s Bunion or bunionette can cause as much pain and difficulty as its more common neighbor, the bunion.

That Little Bulge on Your Pinky Toe

Many people are familiar with bunions and their bony protrusions at the base of the big toe. A bunionette, or tailor’s bunion, is a similar problem occurring in the fifth metatarsal, or at the base of your littlest toe. A mechanical fault in your foot structure, usually inherited, predisposes you to the condition. Stress on the feet causes the fifth metatarsal to slide out of alignment. The head of the bone begins to bulge outward while the little toe displaces inward.

Much like a normal bunion, this smaller bump on the outside of the foot can cause pain. It rubs against the inside of shoes and becomes irritated. As the soft tissues in the joint become inflamed, they swell uncomfortably. Sometimes the bulge may appear red or develop a callus. Occasionally a bone spur can grow as well, exacerbating your symptoms. The bump can make it extremely uncomfortable to wear shoes, especially if your footwear is narrower or squeezes the toes.

Relieving the Rubbing

Much like its larger cousin, most experienced professionals approach a bunionette with conservative treatment first. Our podiatrists will evaluate the affected lower limb and may request diagnostic images for a clearer picture of the issue. This also gives them a more accurate look at the severity of the problem.  From there they can help you determine targeted treatment to deal with the condition and your unique feet.

You may need to change your shoe to accommodate the bulge. Wider toe boxes allow room for toes to move and relieve some of the pressure on the outside of the foot. Avoid high heels and narrow footwear, since they add strain to the ball of the foot and irritate the outer metatarsal. You may need to use a moleskin or other cushion to protect against friction. Orthotics can help manage any biomechanical issues that may have led to the problem, as well as add extra padding around the bulge. Icing the joint can help lower inflammation and discourage uncomfortable swelling. Because a bunionette is a bony displacement issue, though, non-invasive remedies do not correct the problem; however, they can slow its progression and relieve its symptoms. If the treatments are not helping the pain, or the problem is getting worse, you may need surgery to correct the issue.

You don’t have to suffer from uncomfortable lower limbs. If a bulge on the outside of your foot is adding discomfort to your life or making it harder to maintain your mobility, don’t wait for it to require surgery to seek help. For more information or to make an appointment, call our offices directly or use the REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT button at the top of the page.