Looking at this picture, do you notice anything thing wrong with these feet? Pretty good looking feet, right? Well look again and you may notice a bump on the foot under the little toes. The bump is easier to see on the right foot.
This bump is called a tailor’s bunion. The name tailor’s bunion comes from years and years ago. It was thought that tailors developed this type of bunion because they worked sitting cross legged on the floor. Sitting this way exerted pressure on the side of the foot and the bunion was formed.
In current times the tailor’s bunion or bunionette (a French modification to bunion – a smaller version bunion) is found across the employment spectrum. People have tailor’s bunions for a variety of reasons. Heredity is probably the biggest cause of the problem. The foot bone alignment that you inherit from you ancestors can be the cause of many foot problems. Also the shape of your foot bones can lead to a tailor’s bunion. In the case of the bunionette, there is an inflammation of the fifth metatarsal bone (the long bone in the foot leading up the outside) at the base of the little or pinkie toe.
Shoes can also play a part in the development of a tailor’s bunion. Tight fitting shoes can cause the bones to push together and a bunionette to form.
Having arthritis may also cause a tailor’s bunion. Rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis may cause bone destruction or joint mis-alignment which can cause a bunionette to form.
A tailor’s bunion can be painful. Sometimes a fluid filled sac called a bursa can develop in response to the irritation. If you can tolerate it, an over the counter anti-inflammatory drug my help. Sometimes the foot is so irritated that the anti-inflammatory drugs don’t help. If that is the case, you may need an injection to ease the swelling and pain. Also, there can be calluses and blisters that form on the outside of the foot from the foot rubbing on your shoes.
If the foot is painful, red, and irritated, it is time to see your friendly podiatrist. He or she can x-ray the foot to see how severe the misalignment is and then the doctor can make recommendations. It may be as simple as wearing a bunion pad over the area or as complex as surgery to re-align the bones. Either way, the doctor can show you the problem on the x-ray and answer all your questions.
If you have diabetes, before you take any actions, please see your podiatrist. As we have said before, diabetic foot care is very important and you need to have a strong relationship with your podiatrist.