The name is pretty odd, isn’t it? To name a foot condition after the person that sews your clothes… Actually, it is not as weird as it may seem. The name of tailor’s bunions dates centuries back when tailors used to sit cross-legged all day mending clothes. In this position, their feet would rub on the ground, with the outside edge of the feet being suffering from friction against the floor, but most importantly excess pressure. The constant pressure and rubbing would eventually lead to the formation of a bump at the base of both of the little toes.

A tailor’s bunion is commonly called a bunionette, with it being a smaller version of a normal bunion. The bunionette forms at the base of the fifth metatarsal, whereas the bunion forms on the first metatarsal, at the base of the big toe. It is a condition characterized by pain, redness and inflammation of the little toe and a bony lump forming on the outside of the foot in the same place.

In many cases, a bunionette forms due to an abnormality in the feet, and a different bone structure problem which is inherited. When the body weight is not supported properly, excess weight exerted at the base of the big toe can form a bunionette. The fifth metatarsal bone starts to move outwards, while the little toe moves inward. This leads to a protrusion on the outside of the foot. Other causes are wearing tight shoes or uncomfortable footwear that rubs against the side of the foot. The soft tissues of the foot become irritated and inflamed, and the body may even lay down new skin cells to protect against abrasion. Inside new bone is laid down to prevent problems with pressure and to strengthen the area.

A bunionette is easy to diagnose because the symptoms are clear and visually apparent. However, if you visit a doctor, he or she may take some X-rays. It is not a common procedure used all the time, but it is used to determine the extent of the deformity.

Treatment is usually non-invasive and can be completed at home. Bunionette treatment includes:

  • Applying ice on the swollen area. Ice reduces inflammation and diminishes pain and swelling
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medication will reduce the inflammation of the bunionette and will help the healing process

  • Using bunionette pads eases the pressure. These are placed over the swollen and painful area
  • Avoiding shoes that have high heels or pointed toes
  • These will do no good to your feet as they only reduce the space allotted to the foot and keep it in a tight and cramped position

  • In some cases orthotic devices may be prescribed to correct the posture
  • There are shoes specially designed to line the feet naturally and give the toes room to move. These are best if you have a bunionette forming

When conservative treatments fail, it is time for foot surgery. A bunionectomy – to tailors bunionectomy – will involve removing excess bone, repositioning tendons, and surgically straightening the toes. This will leave the area weak, and more prone to develop bunionettes in future if care is not taken. Non-surgical treatments are always best, although they can take considerably longer to have an effect.

Author's Bio: 

Daniela recommends getting a bunionette treated as soon as it starts to appear. Bunions and bunionettes can be prevented; but only when you can determine the cause and take action. For that you may need an assessment by a doctor or podiatrist.