The Story behind Bunionettes

A Tale of a Tailor’s Bunion

Once upon a time, long, long ago, tailors sat cross-legged while hemming, sewing, and mending clothes. They stayed in this position all day, with the outside of their feet resting against the ground. This caused pressure against their fifth toes, or pinky toes as we’ve come to call them. As a result, the fifth toe shifted out of place, leaving a protruding joint. Because of its origins, this deformity is sometimes referred to as a tailor’s bunion, but today it is more commonly known as a bunionette.

But I’m Not a Tailor!

Okay, so it’s not likely that you spend a lot of time sitting and sewing pants all day, but for some reason you have a bunionette. Why? Well, like its famous relative, the bunion, these form as a result of friction and pressure against the joint. If you have an abnormal bump on the outside of your foot where your pinky toe connects (called the metatarsophalangeal joint) it could simply be from wearing shoes that are too tight or too narrow. If footwear is rubbing against the bump, a callus of thickened skin forms over it and causes a painful knob. If you think your shoes seem fine, your parents might be to blame. That’s because your foot structure is mainly inherited, and you may just be prone to the condition.

What Happens Next?

A new pair of shoes is the best place to start for treating a bump near your pinky toe. See, it’s not so bad. You get to go shoe shopping! Look for comfortable footwear with a wide toe box that allows your toes some wiggle room. Ladies, stay away from high heels that put too much pressure on your forefoot and squish your toes together. You can also put a pad over the painful area to protect it from rubbing against your shoes. These look like tiny doughnuts—circular with a hole in the middle—and can be found at your local drugstore.

You can also ask Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists about custom orthotics. These special shoe inserts are custom-made for your foot and allow for better weight distribution, which draws pressure away from the painful area.

Other conservative treatment options include icing, pain medication, and taping your toes in place. If all of these avenues are exhausted, and you are still not experiencing relief, a surgical procedure may be the answer to end your pain. Bunionette surgery entails removing the prominence by cutting away the bone. Surgery may also involve realigning the fifth metatarsal to its proper position.

The End (of pain)

The moral of the story? If you are suffering from a painful tailor’s bunion, visit Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS and Dr. Shine John, DPM, FACFAS at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists. They are experts in bunionette care and will do whatever they can to ensure that you live happily ever after. Call (512) 328-8900 to make an appointment at our office in Austin, TX. You can also visit us online and follow our office on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Most people who have searched this content have also found Are Orthotics Helpful in the Treatment of Bunion Deformities? helpful.

Dr. Craig H. Thomajan, DPM, FACFAS, FAENS
Connect with me
Founder and Managing Partner of Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists