18 Tips to Correct a Tailor’s Bunion

This blog post contains 18 effective tips (and exercises) to help fix your Tailor’s Bunion.

(… or at very least – prevent it from getting worse!)

What is a Tailor’s Bunion?

tailor's bunion

A Tailor’s Bunion is a bump that forms at the base of the pinky toe.

It is associated with the inward deviation of the 5th toe at the Metatarsophalangeal joint.

(It is also referred to as a Bunionette.)

In some people – the Tailor’s Bunion can be inflamed, painful and swollen.

18 Tips (And Exercises) to Fix a Tailor’s Bunion

1. Narrow Shoes
2. Shoe Size
3. High Heels
4. Walking Downhill
5. Slanted Heel on Shoe
6. Standing Position
7. Release Lumbricals/Interrosei
8. Release Bottom of Foot
9. Pinky Toe Stretch
10. Pinky Toe Abduction
11. Heel Raise
12. Stepping
13. Walking
14. Toe Spacer
15. Taping
16. Splint
17. High Arches
18. Bunionette Surgery

1. Wear the correct shoe size

Make sure that you know what your exact shoe size is!

There is no point trying to squeeze into a size that is too small for you.

This will ultimately lead to your toes being squashed together (… and that includes the pinky toe!).

2. Avoid wearing narrow shoes

narrow toe box

Shoes that have a narrow toe box will tend to squash the toes together.

This will lead to the little toe deviating towards the midline in an attempt to fit within the border of the shoe.

How to determine if your shoe is too narrow for your foot:

narrow shoes test

Instructions:

  • Place your shoe onto the floor.
  • Place your foot directly on top of the shoe.
  • Take note of the position of your toes.

Results: If any part of your toes are located outside the border of the shoe, then the shoe is likely too narrow for you.

3. Avoid wearing High heels

high heels cause of tailors bunion

Shoes with an elevated heel will place more pressure at the tip of the foot.

This will essentially cause the weight of the body to jam the toes into the front of the shoe.

(This compressive force on the toes is amplified if the shoe is too narrow.)

4. Minimize Excessive exposure to walking down hill

Walking down a hill may compress the toes in the front of the shoe.

Frequent exposure to this activity has the potential to make the Tailor’s Bunion more pronounced.

5. Throw Out Old Shoes with a slanted heel

Over time – The heel of a shoe will tend to wear out at an angle.

Have a look at the back of the shoes that you most commonly wear.

Has the heel worn off on the outer edge?

things to avoid with bunionette

If you continue to wear a shoe with the heel worn out on the outer side, this will position the ankle in an inverted position.

As you walk with this foot position – more pressure will be placed on the outer side of the foot.

This places more side ways pressure onto the pinky toe causing the it to deviate to towards the midline.

6. Don’t stand like this

foot position squashes pinky toe

When standing – make sure that you do not allow your feet to roll onto the side.

This places the entire body weight onto the side of pinky toe.

7. Perform Releases on The Interossei and Lumbricals

The Lumbrical and Interossei are muscles which attach to the pinky toe.

Tightness in these muscles is associated with the pinky toe being pulled towards in the inside.

Release can help relax these tight muscles.

Here is how to release them:

pinky toe massage

Instructions:

  • Apply a pincer grip between the 4th and pinky toe.
  • Apply a firm pressure and massage.
  • Continue for 1 minute.

8. Release muscles at bottom of feet

There are multiple muscles under the foot that can pull the pinky toe towards the inside.

Here is how to release them:

release for bunionette

Instructions:

  • Place a massage ball on a floor.
  • Place your foot on top of a massage ball.
  • Apply an appropriate amount of your body weight on top of the massage ball.
  • Make sure to cover the area between the 4th and the little toe.
  • Roll your foot up and down.
  • Continue for 1 minute.

9. Pinky Toe Stretch

It is recommended to stretch out the tight muscles that are pulling the pinky toe towards the inside.

Here is how to stretch it out:

pinky toes stretch for bunionette

Instructions:

  • Pull your 4th and pinky toe away from each other.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the inside of the base of the pinky toe.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

10. Pinky Toe Abduction

This exercise involves moving your pinky toe towards the side.

This is to strengthen the muscle (called the Abductor Digiti Minimi) that is responsible for bringing the pinky toe into a more ideal position.

Instructions:

  • Sit down on a chair.
  • Place your heel onto a stool.
  • Move your pinky toe to the side.
  • Perform 30 repetitions.

Note: If you are like most people, you probably won’t get the hang of this movement straight away. KEEP PRACTISING!

11. Heel raises

Do this: Stand on top of your tippy-toes.

… Does the outside ankle bone (Lateral Malleolus) flare out towards the side?

wrong technique heel raise

This position will place more pressure directly onto the side of the pinky toe.

It is important to learn how to perform a heel raise with your foot in a more neutral position.

correct technique heel raise

Instructions:

  • Stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Make sure that you are loading the big toe.
  • Do not allow the majority of your weight to move towards the outer part of the foot.
  • Lift your heels off the floor.
  • Aim to keep a neutral alignment of the ankle.
  • Perform 30 repetitions.
  • Progression: Perform the exercises on one foot.

12. Pinky Toe Spread with stepping

If you suspect that the way that you are walking is contributing to the development of the bunionette, it is likely that you need to work on how you are taking a step.

Instructions:

  • Spread your pinky toe to the side.
  • Plant your foot onto the floor making sure the pinky is splayed out.
  • Take a step whilst keeping your pinky toe splayed.
  • Perform 30 repetitions.

13. Walk properly

As you are walking, the last thing that leaves the ground as you push forwards should be the big toe… and not the pinky toe.

If you keep pushing off the pinky toe side of the foot, this can cause a bump at the base of the pinky toe to form.

14. Wear a toe spacer

A toe spacer is an insert that is used to maintain a gap between your toes.

You can wear it barefoot or with shoes.

Wear it for at least 1 hour a day.

15. Tape the pinky toe

Taping can help pull the pinky toe into a more optimal position.

Instructions:

Apply the tape to the:

  • Inside surface of the base of the pinky toe.
  • Loop around the tip of the pinky toe.
  • Pull the tape outwards to place the pinky toe into a more neutral position.
  • Anchor the tape to the outer side of the foot.

16. Wear a splint

Similarly to taping, wearing a splint can help pull the pinky toe into a more optimal position.

17. Address High Arches

high arches in feet

Having high arched feet is where there is a significant gap between the medial border of the foot and the floor.

This foot posture can encourage the foot to load most of the body weight through the outer border of the foot.

I have a detailed guide on exactly how to address this issue:

See Post: Exercises for High Arches.

Here are 3 exercises to get you started:

a) Mid Foot Mobilizations

mid foot mobilization

Instructions:

  • Sit down on a chair.
  • Place your ankle on top of the other knee.
  • Hold the midfoot with one hand.
  • Using your other hand, place your thumb under the base of the big toe and the other fingers on top of the base of the pinky toe. (See image)
  • Whilst anchoring the midfoot still, proceed to rotate the forefoot away from you.
  • Perform 30 repetitions.

b) Plantar Stretch

plantar foot stretch

Instructions:

  • Kneel down on the floor.
  • Make sure that the toes are bent backwards.
  • Shift your body weight on top of your toes and forefoot.
  • Aim to feel a stretch under the foot.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

Note: If you have knee issues, please be careful with the kneeling position.

c) Strengthen Peroneals

peroneal strengthening

Instructions:

  • Sit down on a chair.
  • Straighten the legs.
  • Point the foot forwards.
  • Lift the outside of the foot towards the side.
  • Aim to feel a muscular contraction on the outside of your shin.
  • Perform 30 repetitions.

18. Bunionette Surgery

If you have noticed no improvements in your Tailor’s Bunion after persisting with the suggestions for at least 3-6 months, you may benefit from a specialist review to determine if surgery is appropriate for you.

Bunionette surgery involves:

  • Removal of the bony protrusion (Ostectomy)
  • Cutting of the 5th Metatarsal (Osteotomy)
  • Re-alignment of the bone
  • Fixation with a screw

Keep in mind – This is an absolute last resort and not 100% necessary for most of the time!

Please invest a fair bit of time with the exercises to see what you can achieve before considering any surgical intervention.


Conclusion

A Tailor’s Bunion is a bump at the base of the pinky toe. (It is also referred to as a Bunionette on the little toe.)

Try out the recommendations as mentioned on this blog post to address this issue.

Although surgery is usually not warranted for the majority people, you may benefit from getting a review with a surgeon.


What to do next

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me:

Facebook | Instagram

3. Start doing the exercises!


Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the content provided on this blog post is at your sole risk. For more informationMedical Disclaimer.

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