Tailors Bunion Symptoms

bunion locationsA tailor’s bunion (often called a bunionette) is a small bone deformity which occurs on the outside of the foot at the base of the little toe. It is a hard, bony lump that appears where the toe joins the long bones in the foot (the metatarsals).
A tailor’s bunion is relatively easy to identify due to its location and appearance. It is often accompanied by swelling and inflammation. The skin over the bunion can become raw from friction against the side of shoes and calluses are likely to form over time. The area can be hot to the touch and quite painful.

Common Tailor’s Bunion Symptoms

The most common tailor’s bunion symptoms are listed below. You may experience some or all of these issues.

  • Visible bony lump at the base of the little toe
  • Inflamed skin which can be hot to the touch
  • Corns and calluses at the base of the little toe
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Limited movement of the little toe

One of the most common tailor’s bunion symptoms is pain in the small toe and toe joint. The pain can be a dull persistent ache or intermittent. Pressure on the outside of the foot usually causes pain to increase. Pain in the small toe can be caused by a number of different medical problems so it is important to see a podiatrist or doctor to obtain a correct diagnosis.
A doctor should be able to diagnose the condition from sight, although a physical examination will be conducted to confirm the diagnosis. An x-ray may be required to establish the extent of the problem and how the joint has been affected before an appropriate treatment can be provided.

What Happens if a Tailor’s Bunion is Not Treated?

Once a little toe bunion starts to form it will not start to heal without intervention. The reason why the bunion has formed must be established so that this can be addressed. This could be due to pressure from narrow shoes, a congenital defect with the feet or an irregular walking gait. If the causative factor is not addressed, even if the bunion can be corrected it is likely to return.
As the bunion develops it causes increased pressure to be exerted from footwear. This will result in increased pain, swelling and further deterioration of the condition. When there is abrasion of skin by footwear, sores can develop, blisters can form and the skin can easily become infected. As the deformity progresses the head of the fifth metatarsal bone starts to realign and the ligaments and tendons stretch. This can cause the small toe to start moving inwards from the tip, while the base of the toe moves outwards. The effect is that the little toe will start to point towards the big toe. To start with the toe can be manually manipulated back into the correct position, although this will become more difficult over time.
New bone can start to be laid down around the joint which can severely limit movement and the joint can be damaged. When this occurs it is necessary to have surgery – termed a bunionectomy – to correct the problem.

Outlook for Recovery

Despite being uncomfortable, unsightly and making shoes difficult to fit on the feet, little toe bunions are not usually a serious problem and they are curable. In many cases a simple change of footwear is all that is required to ease tailor’s bunion symptoms, although it can take some time for the toe to return to a normal position and the lump to reduce in size.
If the problem is allowed to persist for a long period without treatment, surgical treatment may be required to ensure a full recovery can be made. Little toe bunion surgery is usually necessary if additional bone has been laid down preventing the toe from naturally returning to its normal, straight position. It is a relatively minor surgical procedure, but it is usually only considered when conservative treatments have not proved to be effective.