Bunionette, also known as tailor´s bunion can be defined as the protuberance-shaped deformity that affects the joint of the fifth toe. This is not as common as Hallux valgus or bunion that consists of a bony bump at the joint located at the base of the big toe. However, either Bunionette or Bunion share similar causes and symptoms.
Bunionette is not a bone tumour, it is the rounded end of the fifth toe (bone on the outside of the instep) that looks like a protuberance. The particular name “tailor´s bunion” is due to the position taken by tailors in antiquity. They used to sit down on the floor with the crossed legs in order to sew. This position generates a continuous pressure on the external condyle (rounded prominence at the end of the bone) of the fifth toe, producing swelling and posterior deformity. This is why it is believed that it is one of the main risk factors for the disease.
What are the causes of Bunionette?
It is an important risk factor if parents or grandparents suffer from Hallux valgus. It increases the chances for children to get it.
A really bad foot mechanics over the years can cause the deformity of the fifth toe, so the tailor´s bunion appears. For instance, people who have supine foot have better support of the body weight in the outer edge of the foot.
Flat feet are also associated with this type of deformity.
Shoes are always a determinant factor in feet diseases. If the front of the shoe is pointy, if you use a very tight fit, if they are high (it is the case of high heels shoes in women), on the contrary, if they are low, if the soles are very worn, etc. In order to know what is the right type of shoes, you can visit a chiropodist, doctor or physiotherapist.
Signs and symptoms of Bunionette
-The main symptom is pain.
-The pain is accompanied by swelling in the protuberance area.
-Pain and swelling increase with the friction of the shoe which generates difficulty to walk.
-Sometimes, skin abrasion or soft tissue irritation and blisters occur. A blister, or vesicle, is a raised portion of skin filled with fluid.
How can we diagnose Bunionette?
We diagnose this condition just by observation and palpation since the deformity is very evident. Also, we can perform X-rays to determine the severity of deformity in the fifth toe. X-rays are a diagnostic test in candidates for surgery.
The objective of the treatment is reducing pain and swelling, but it cannot fix the deformity. The treatment for bunionette should include cryotherapy (ice bags) during 15 minutes twice a day in order to control pain and swelling. Also, we recommend the use of silicone insoles or pads. The change of footwear for one that generates less friction, in the case of sports shoes that are for supinated feet is useful.
Medical treatment is based on the indication of anti-inflammatory corticosteroid infiltrations, as well as indicating non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
In case that conservative treatment, multiple sessions of physiotherapy do not give results with the tailor’s bunion, the specialist doctor should be consulted to perform the surgery. It aims to correct the deformity, and subsequently alleviate the symptoms.
In Harley Street Hospital, we have some of the best specialists to diagnose and treat Bunionette. Book an appointment to get a checkup.
You might also want to read: What is Hallux Valgus Bunion?