While the name “bunionette” might sound cute, the condition is not. Similar to a bunion, a bunionette – also called a tailor’s bunion – is a prominence of the fifth metatarsal bone at the base of the little toe. This condition was named after tailors who, centuries ago, used to sit for long periods of time cross-legged as they worked. The outside of their foot would constantly rub against the ground and be put under pressure as they leaned in, which caused bunionettes.
This painful prominence occurs at the head of the metatarsal bone (one of five long bones that run the length of the foot) where it meets the toe. As the head is displaced and new bone forms, the forefront of the foot starts widening and the bones protrude outward. Tailor’s bunions can sometimes be a bony spur on the side of the metatarsal head. Either way, it makes wearing shoes painful and difficult.
Symptoms of a Bunionette
Symptoms include redness, swelling, pain and the tell-tale protrusion outward at the base of the little toe. In advanced cases, the little toe will actually begin to point inward toward the other toes.
Risk Factors For a Bunionette
Tailor’s bunions can be inherited or they can be caused by consistently wearing narrow shoes that rub and create pressure on the bones. Not surprisingly, about nine out of 10 patients who develop bunionettes are women, and the condition is rare in non-Western countries. We love our pointy-toed shoes, don’t we, girls?
For patients with a tailor’s bunion, we start with the most conservative treatments first to relieve pain and slow progression of the deformity. This will include recommendations on proper shoes, padding, and anti-inflammatory medications. We might also recommend icing to reduce the inflammation, corticosteroid injections, and orthotics that will eliminate the rubbing and support the foot.
In more advanced cases, surgery might be necessary to relieve the pain and prevent further deformity.
If you are experiencing foot pain, call our office or make an online appointment
Accepted Insurance Providers
There may be providers, plans and coverage not included on this list. We will help you with navigating the options for coverage and costs. We also accept HSA, Flex accounts, Care Credit and prompt pay pricing for treatment at the clinic and surgical procedures. We do not accept Medicaid or CareSource plans at this time. Visit our New Patient page for more details.