Tailor's Bunion – Reason Behind Small Bump Near Little Toe | Pain Care

Tailor’s Bunion – Reason Behind Small Bump Near Little Toe

Many people do not know and would never understand when they have a bunion.

In simple terms, a bunion is just a swelling, bump or protrusion that forms at the joint found on the base of your big toe.

A tailor’s bunion or bunionette is also a type of a bunion only that it forms on the fifth metatarsal bone at the bottom of your little toe.

The metatarsal bones are those five slender bones found at the part of the foot in between the ankle and the toes.

Why the name tailor’s bunion?

This type of swelling was termed as tailor’s bunion because in the past it was more common among tailors who used to sit with their legs crossed and the outer part of their toes pressed on the floor.

Today most tailor’s bunions are caused by modern footwear. The lump forms when the fifth metatarso-phalangeal joint gets dislocated.


The most common causes of tailor’s bunion are as follows -


Amazingly genes have a contributing factor to tailor’s bunions. This means that the condition can be inherited among members of a family.

If your parents or younger siblings had it, then you could as well inherit these genes that make the foot function abnormally.

This abnormal foot biomechanics often make the metatarsal phalangeal joint unstable thereby causing the deformity.

Inappropriate foot wear

If you frequently put on inappropriately sized shoes especially high heels and pointed toe boxes can put lot of pressure on foot. Though they cannot directly cause a bunion.

Instead such shoes make the condition worse and the pain unbearable. Getting the right shoe size tends to make sufferers feel better.

Bone outgrowth or bony spur

A bony outgrowth normally protruding on the sides of the head of the fifth metatarsal bone can be the cause of the bunion.

Symptoms & Signs

Some people get to experience the symptoms though at a later stage while others do not.

When a tailor’s bunion starts it’s just a concern because of the appearance but it does not cause any discomfort or pain initially.

The pain and swelling comes about as the deformity progresses. The pain becomes unbearable if the shoes rub against that swollen spot.

To be specific a bunionette is characterized by the following signs and symptoms

  • Foot pain at the site of 5 toe
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness


Most tailor’s bunion treatment techniques focus on restoring your foot bones to their proper alignment.

These treatment methods can be surgical or non-surgical.

Non Surgical Rx

  • Useful in mild cases

Includes conservative methods like wearing well fitting shoes, padding, applying ice-packs, taking oral medicine and injections etc.

Surgical Rx

  • Useful in severe cases

Includes surgical approach to correct the condition. 5th metatarsal osteotomy is used to straighten the bone of fifth toe.

Non Surgical method of bunionette treatment

This approach includes variety of methods to reduce the swelling, redness and pain.

Usually, mild cases of bunionette are treated with non-surgical treatment and if all of these approach fails to provide relief to patient surgery can be suggested.​

Get the right footwear

When talking of shoes, it is the size of the toe box and heel that matter most.

A healthy shoe should have a wide toe box and just a little or no heel elevation. So basically just keep off shoes with pointed toes and extremely high heels.

Toe Spacers

Finding toes spacers for bunion is not a difficult task, market is filled with many of them.

They are also know as toe separator or toe stretchers.​ As name suggest it helps to separate the toes and align them properly.

They help to release the tightening of muscle & ligament of foot and ​provide pain relief. 

Toe spacers sit between the webbing of toes and align them properly and stretch the muscles of toes​. They are made up of gel, silicon or plastic and really useful to treat the conditions like bunions.

We highly recommend using toe stretchers for bunions to get instant pain relief and good alignment of toes. You can find the best toe stretchers here.​

Toe Spacers

Bunion pads placed on the affected area can help reduce the pain. You can get these pads at a drug store or from a bunion surgeon.

Ice packs

Icing the affected area several times a day can help minimize the discomfort, swelling and pain.

Icing involves applying ice packs on the bunionette. While on it try and raise your leg high so that blood can flow easily.

Taking oral drugs

If the pain becomes unbearable the Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen can be taken to help control it.

These drugs also help reduce the swelling, redness & provide instant pain relief.


Bunionettes are characterized by fluid filled sacs which form around the affected joint.

These may be hard to address by simply icing or changing footwear. Instead an injection may come in handy to help treat them.

Surgical method of bunionette treatment 

If the tailor’s bunion gets severe then a corrective surgery may be needed.

Note that a surgery only becomes necessary if the above methods have all proved futile.

First and foremost, your doctor needs to perform an x-ray to see the extent of damage caused by the bunion.

Generally, bunions have a number of surgeries, however a tailor’s bunion is normally corrected using a type of surgery known as the fifth metatarsal osteotomy.

It basically involves straightening the fifth metatarsal bone using a surgical cut on its bone, neck or shaft to straighten it.

How to prevent a tailor’s bunion?

Those already affected by the tailor’s bunion can only treat it, however those without it have a chance to prevent it.

Prevention involves nothing much than just taking care of your toes.

This can be done by wearing the appropriate shoe size. This is especially important to people with a family history of tailor’s bunion.


A tailor’s bunion is usually known to be progressive meaning it gets worse with time.

It is important that you get to address the condition as soon as you notice it.

Do not wait till it gets to a point that surgery becomes the only viable treatment option. Also never rush to surgery before trying other non-surgical procedures.

Dr. Sachin

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