What Is A Tailor Bunion?

A tailor’s bunion, also known as a bunionette, is when the little toe becomes enlarged at its base. The enlargement specific to a tailor bunion develops at the toe’s head, and is positioned at in the area where the bone connects with the toe. Tailor bunions aren’t as prevalent as regular bunions, which develop on the inside of the foot, however they are both similar in causes and symptoms.

Why is it called a “tailor’s bunion”? The condition was named centuries ago, because tailors sat all day with the outer edge of there foot constantly rubbing the ground. This continual rubbing resulted in a painful bump at the bottom of the little toe.

Picture of a Tailor Bunion

colorado foot institute tailor bunions

What Causes a Tailor’s Bunion?

Many times, a tailor bunion is the result of an inherited faulty foot structure. In this case, changes occur within the foot’s framework and this results in an enlargement of the toe. This enlargement leads to the shifting of bones within the foot and this is why the bump appears on the outer part of the foot.

A tailor bunion can also be a bony spur on the side of the little toe’s head. Heredity and genetics are the main reasons these spurs occur.

Regardless of it’s cause, the symptoms are usually aggravated by wearing tight or narrow shoes that produce constant pressure and rubbing. In fact, these type of shoes can actually cause the deformity to get progressively worse.

Tailor Bunion Symptoms

Symptoms of a tailor bunion may include pain caused by pressure over the protrusion on the outer part of the foot. Most patients will only experience symptoms while wearing shoes that rub the irritated prominence. Tailor’s Bunions can cause more severe problems if the irritant rubs the skin, possibly resulting in breaks of the skin. When this occurs, the area becomes susceptible to infection which can exacerbate the problem and create new ones.

Let Us Help You

As director of the Colorado Foot Institute, Dr. Mechanik is Board Certified in Foot Surgery and Board Certified in Reconstructive Rear Foot and Ankle surgery. He has the medical and surgical skills to treat your foot conditions.

Dr. Mechanik received his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from the the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine which is part of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, a national leader in medical education.

Dr. Mechanik then went on to complete a twenty-four month post-graduate residency training program in Foot and Ankle Surgery and a twenty-four month surgical Fellowship training program in Lower Extremity Musculoskeletal Surgery.

Dr. Mechanik is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and a  Diplomate, American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.


The presence of a bunion is very apparent. The protrusion at the bottom of the big toe is clearly visible. To completely evaluate the current state of your condition, Dr. Mechanik would take x-rays to assess the severity of the deformity and determine the full extent of the changes to the foot.
Due to the fact that bunions are progressive, a bunion will not go away on its own, and the condition will only worsen with time. Once Dr. Mechanik has performed a full examination of the bunion, treatment plans can be developed to suit your individual needs.

Tailor Bunion Treatment

Treatment for tailor bunions are usually begin with conservative, non-surgical treatments. Dr. Mechanik would evaluate the severity of your condition and probably start with one of the following non-invasive methods:

  • Change in footwear. Wearing comfortable shoes is very important. Shoes should have a wide or open toe box, and high heels should be avoided.
  • Oral Medications. Anti inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, will help to alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Injection Therapy. Corticosteroid injections may be used to treat inflamed areas.
  • Padding. Placing bunionette pads over the area can help to reduce pain. These pads are commercially available at most drug stores.
  • Icing. Ice packs can reduce pain and inflammation. It is advised the ice pack be wrapped in something to avoid direct contact with the skin.

When is surgery needed? Surgery is considered when all conservative methods fail. Surgery is an extremely effective way to treat tailor’s bunions. Dr. Mechanik will decide on the procedure he feels will benefit you best in the long run and take into consideration other factors such as age, activity level, and the x-ray results. The length of time it will take to heal after the surgery will vary depending on the procedure performed, the length of time treatment was delayed, and patient compliance.

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For the convenience of our patients and guests, Colorado Foot Institute offers free, high-speed wireless internet access. Simply look for the guest access network on your wireless-enabled device to sign on.

Dr. Joseph Mechanik is Certified by

American Podiatric Medical Associations
American Professionals Wound Care Association
American Board of Podiatric Surgery
American Collage of Foot and Ankle Surgeons