A tailor’s bunion is an enlargement of the joint at the base of the 5th toe (MTP Joint) that is typically acquired through life. The enlargement forms when the bone or tissue at the joint moves out of place. This usually causes the 5th toe to bend towards the 4th toe, resulting in a painful bump that can be difficult to wear with shoes.

The name “tailor’s bunion” comes from centuries ago, when tailors consistently sat cross-legged throughout the day with the outside edge of their feet rubbing on the ground. The constant rubbing is what caused the symptoms associated with a painful bump to the base of the 5th toe.


A tailor’s bunion is usually brought on by years of abnormal motion and pressure over the 5th MTP Joint, chaning and disrupting the normal balance of forces on the foot. Changes in the foot’s framework cause the 5th MTP joint to be unstable, forming a tailor’s bunion deformity. This is usually a cause of abnormal foot development by the way we walk, with shoes and inherited foot types contributing to the condition.

An x-ray is often indicate to determine the severity of the condition


  • Firm bump developed at the base of the 5th toe, on the outside edge of the foot
  • Redness, swelling, and/or pain near the MTP joint
  • Formation of corns or calluses around the area
  • Overlapping of the 4th and 5th toes
  • Limited motion to the MTP joint with pain


Conservative options include removing pain and halting the progression of the deformity. Generally, shoes with wider and deeper toe boxes are a good at starting point that can be done at home. Shoes such as narrow dress shoes or high heels can also worsen the condition and should not be used. Options that can be done by your podiatrist include:

  • Prescription medications such as anti-inflammatories or oral steroids
  • Shoe inserts
  • Custom orthotics
  • Padding
  • Splints
  • Steroid injection

This can be done in a variety of ways including shoe inserts, anti-inflammatories, padding and splints.

Surgery is indicated if conservative options fail or pain persists. X-rays would be taken to assess the severity of the condition with a surgical procedure performed accordingly. Generally, the procedures involve shifting the bone back into proper alignment while keeping it fixated with hardware. Your podiatrist will be able to discuss in detail the procedures indicated.

The primary goal for most treatment options is to relieve pressure on the bunion and halt the progression of joint deformity. If a patient exhibits early indication of pain or discomfort, they should visit your podiatrist at Premier Foot & Ankle to prevent worsening of the condition.


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