What is a tailors bunion?
It is similar to a bunion but develops on the outside of the foot, where the base of the fifth toe connects to the foot. It is called a ‘tailors bunion’ because it was commonly found in tailors who once sat cross cross-legged all day with the outside edge of their feet rubbing on the ground.This caused a callus and pressure areas at the bottom of the fifth toe.
What causes a tailors bunion?
An abnormal bump at the base of the fifth toe may cause this condition. Also as people grow older, sometimes their feet widen and splay out. This may cause a bunion on the inner side and a bunionette on the outer side of the foot. This may then become symptomatic if they wear tight fitting and narrow shoes.
What are the symptoms caused by this condition?
Difficulty with shoe wear is the commonest complaint. Patients complain of the bump rubbing against their shoes causing pain and discomfort. They may find it difficult to fit into normal shoes as well causing them to seek medical attention.
How is this condition diagnosed?
Your consultant will examine your foot clinically and this usually makes the diagnosis clear. X-rays will be taken to determine whether the foot has splayed out and this would help plan the type of surgery if needed at a later stage.
Can the condition worsen?
People function normally with this problem for years without any symptoms. The callosity on the bump might break down and ulcerate due to constant friction from shoe wear.
What treatment options are there?
Options are based on the degree of severity of symptoms. Most patients are seeking advice and reassurance. Non surgical options are:
Foot wear modification and orthotics:
Awide toe box will prevent the bunionette from rubbing against the shoe. Pads may also be used over the bunionette. These are round with a central hole like a doughnut and help to ease the pressure from the foot wear.
Surgery is the last option to be employed if non surgical treatments have failed. It involves removing the bony prominence or realigning the fifth toe Further information on this procedure is available under ‘Surgery for tailors bunion’ under surgical procedures.
Is surgery necessary?
The decision to proceed with surgery should be taken after non surgical options described above have been exhausted. The majority of patients will benefit from shoe wear modifications. If symptoms continue to affect lifestyle and function in spite of this then surgery may be discussed with your consultant and he will advise you regarding the pros and cons of surgery.