A tailor’s bunion is a bone deformity that is quite common, that basically involves the outer side of the foot. Everyone has heard of a bunion or what we would consider our standard, regular bunion, which affects the big toe joint and the bone towards the inside of the foot. A tailor’s bunion actually involves the bone on the other side of the foot, in the area called the fifth metatarsal phalangeal joint.
What causes a tailor’s bunion?
If you look at this image, the joint on side of the big toe is where a regular bunion would develop. Over on the right side (highlighted in red) is where a tailor’s bunion would develop. Essentially what a tailor’s bunion is is it’s a deformity in which the outer part of the fifth metatarsal, is either enlarged so that there is a larger prominence of this bone itself, or this bone, the fifth metatarsal itself, is angled out very far away from this bone, the fourth metatarsal. That essentially makes this side of this bone much more prominent against the skin.
Essentially the problem that comes with having tailor’s bunions is that it can become very irritated against the side of the shoe. The bone prominence can form a large lump, that when you wear a regular shoe, is often rubbed against by the side of the shoe. Unfortunately, many shoes are quite narrow when it comes to the outer side of the foot as opposed to being a little bit wider to accommodate the inner side where a more standard bunion is located. When you wear shoes that are too tight, or shoes that are going to rub against this area, the skin can become irritated, the tissue underneath the skin could actually become inflamed, and sometimes a protective sort of sac of fluid called a bursa can develop, which forms in an attempt to try to pad off the outer layer of the tissue from being irritated from the bone against the side of the shoe.
Treatment for a tailor’s bunion
Treatment is fairly simple for this condition. You either can wear a much wider shoe that’s not going to cause an irritation against the side of the bone, or you can attempt to wear some padding, which is going to try to create a sort of pillow against the side of the foot and the shoe, which will help to decrease the pressure. Alternately, one could consider surgery to fix this particular deformity. Surgery can run from a simple surgery to a little bit more involved. It depends on whether or not the angle of those two bones that I described earlier are too wide or not. If there’s just simply a small bump against the side of the bone itself, it can just simply be shaved down, and that’s a fairly easy procedure. However, if the actual bone itself is swung outward too far, you actually have to make a cut in the bone at some level, and swing the bone back over so that it’s a little more in alignment with the fourth metatarsal next to it.
That procedure still is a fairly simple one, and easy to recover from, but it does require a little bit of some convalescence, and the bone fracture that’s created by moving it over itself needs about six weeks to heal, which is usually accomplished in a walking boot. Some surgeons may prefer to utilize a cast if there’s a concern for its stability.