Tailor’s Bunion is a condition that causes pain and swelling at the base of the fifth metatarsal (what you might call your little toe).
You may notice a hard bump in the area, accompanied by redness or other signs of inflammation. Symptoms might worsen when you wear shoes that press on the swollen area at the toe’s base.
An experienced foot and ankle specialist can diagnose a Tailor’s Bunion by performing a physical examination and sometimes taking X-rays to get a better look at the deformity in the bone.
Most of the time, Tailor’s Bunion is caused by genetics leading to difficulties with the foot structure. If other family members have had this bunion, you are more likely to develop one.
Sometimes issues with the foot anatomy cause the fifth metatarsal bone to shift outward over time while the toe points inward, causing a bump on the outside of the foot. This bump then pushes against the shoe as you walk, resulting in pain and swelling.
Less commonly, the Tailor’s Bunion is a bony spur or an outgrowth of bone that protrudes and causes symptoms. It may also happen because of arthritis in the joint at the toe’s base.
No matter the cause, a Tailor’s Bunion is usually irritated by shoes that are too narrow in the toe arrow or poorly fitting. You may be more likely to experience bunions if you frequently wear pointy-toed shoes that put pressure on the area where a Tailor’s Bunion typically appears.
Dr. Auger will begin with a thorough examination and medical history and, after diagnosing a Tailor’s Bunion, will create a customized treatment plan. This may include one or more of the following treatment options:
Placing ice on the inflamed area can help reduce swelling and inflammation.
These pads provide a cushion between the bunion and the shoe, reducing friction. However, they won’t help as much if your shoes are too tight, as the compression will still put stress on the area.
Often the best treatment is relieving stress on the fifth metatarsal by wearing wider, more comfortable shoes, particularly a pair that doesn’t squeeze the toes together.
Dr. Auger can recommend a local store specializing in shoes for people with bunions and other foot issues – and if you have Medicaid, you may be eligible for one free pair per year. (Be sure to get a prescription from your podiatrist to qualify for this benefit.)
But we understand that some people don’t want to change their shoes or need a specific look for work. When this is the case, sometimes we recommend trying a larger size of the shoe you already have.
If larger shoes allow your toes more “wiggle room,” it may help reduce inflammation and pain from the bunion.
Custom orthotics or shoe inserts that replace your insoles may also be helpful. These are made in our office, using high-quality scans of your feet.
We then make molds of the feet and send them to a lab with instructions. You’ll also receive a temporary set of inserts made of a less durable material that will last you a few weeks until your permanent shoe inserts are finished.
When these are ready, you can try them out in the office and let us know if anything feels uncomfortable – we can make adjustments as needed. These orthotics work best in a well-fitting shoe, so they won’t help as much if your shoes are too tight or narrow.
Some people may need new shoes before trying orthotics for a Tailor’s Bunion.
While you’re making changes to support your feet, the podiatrist may prescribe medication or recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce your discomfort. Sometimes, they might also give you steroid shots around the swollen area to reduce inflammation and pain.
However, steroid shots are only a short-term solution, as they can’t be safely used long-term. But combined with other therapies, they may help you get back on your feet while you work on other solutions.
We will always try other treatments before bunion surgery. Still, if medication and less restrictive shoes don’t work, this is a good option for correcting the deformity and reducing pain.
We may use multiple surgical procedures depending on the location and severity of the bunion, your activity level, and the health of the bones and ligaments in your foot. Here are the four general categories of bunion surgery, depending on your specific condition:
While this prevents the bones from moving, it also eliminates pain and allows us to correct the deformity and reduce the risk of it returning. In a few cases, we may consider a joint replacement implant instead, but many people get excellent results with fusion surgery.
Your podiatrist will discuss any surgery’s potential benefits and risks with you and answer your questions. We know patients are often concerned or anxious about the prospect of surgery.
Some people want to put it off, but unfortunately, this may result in needing a more complex surgery later on. While any surgery has risks, bunion surgery is relatively safe, and most patients are happy with the results.
Bunion surgery is usually an outpatient procedure performed in your podiatrist’s office. We use a local anesthetic for most patients, so your foot will be numb, and you won’t feel any pain.
If you’re feeling anxious about the procedure, we can prescribe a sedative to help you relax. The length of your surgery depends on the type of procedure, but it often takes less than an hour, and you will need someone to drive you home afterward.
Recovery can take several weeks or months, depending on the severity of your bunion and how complicated the surgery was. We might send you home with a walking cast or boot to wear until your foot has healed.
Usually, you will be asked to elevate your foot, apply ice, and rest for several days or weeks after the operation. In some situations, a cane or walker might be helpful so you can move around without putting much weight on your foot.
Some patients benefit from physical therapy or specific exercises to strengthen the foot once they have recovered enough. If you’re prescribed physical therapy, it’s crucial that you not only attend your appointments but also do the at-home exercises as directed by your therapist.
Often much of the work of recovery is done in these daily exercises, and patients who don’t do them may not regain as much strength and function in the affected foot. If you have difficulty doing the PT exercises because of pain or other issues, please let your physical therapist know.
They will work with your foot and ankle specialist to find a solution. Sometimes the physical therapist can modify exercises, or your doctor might prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to reduce pain.
Please contact the office of Dr. Elizabeth Auger, DPM. Dr. Auger has been practicing podiatry in the West Jordan area for more than 24 years after completing her medical residency in Salt Lake City with intensive training in foot surgery and wound care.
She is a member of The College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and is Board Certified in Podiatric Medicine by The American Board of Lower Extremity Surgery.
Using a holistic, patient-centered approach, Dr. Auger creates a customized treatment plan for each patient based on their diagnosis and treatment goals.
Our friendly office staff can answer your questions and check on insurance coverage. When you’re ready to make an appointment, we will get you in at your earliest convenience.
In many cases, we can even schedule a same-day appointment, so please call 801-845-3960 now to learn more about your treatment options for Tailor’s Bunion or other foot and ankle issues.