Patient Education


A bunion deformity is often described as a bump or bony prominence at the inside of the foot at the base of the great toe. There are different types of bunions. The most common type of bunion deformity occurs when the great toe deviates laterally toward the little toe. This condition is called hallux valgus. Bunions can also occur just as a bony prominence with the great toe straight. Finally, a bunion can occur with arthritis in the joint. All 3 types of bunions are progressive in both deformity and symptoms. The classic "hallux valgus" deformity is caused by an inherited malfunction of the foot causing stress at the bunion area. That is why we often see the deformity in several generations of the same family. Bunions are often aggravated by shoes, however, they are not caused by shoes. That is why women who wear stylish high-heeled or pointed shoes are more apt to develop pain than men.

The treatment for bunions is either conservative or surgical. Conservative treatment consists of accommodative shoes that have a rounded toe box and lower heel. Padding is used to relieve irritation and pressure over the bunion deformity. Anti-inflammatory medications, both topical and oral, often help to reduce pain and swelling. Cortisone injections may also be used to reduce inflammation. Custom orthotics measured to the feet are helpful to realign weightbearing patterns and reduce stress at the bunion joint. Orthotics are the most important conservative treatment since they also help reduce the progression of the deformity.

Surgical intervention is sometimes recommended depending on the severity of the symptoms. Often the results are best when the deformity is corrected early. Recent advances in surgical technique have led to higher success rates and lower down time. The procedure is most often performed our Lakeforest Ambulatory Surgery Center under "twilight" anesthesia. Patients are usually back to work in less than one week.

Ask The Doctor About Bunions

What is a bunion?

Can bunions get worse?

Why do bunions run in families?

Can orthotics cure my bunion?

What does bunion surgery entail?

Will I have to stay in the hospital overnight after bunion surgery?

Office Locations

Gaithersburg Office
PNC Bank Building
702 Russell Avenue, Suite 103
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
(301) 948-FOOT (3668)

Suitland Office
5001 Silver Hill Road, Suite A
Suitland, MD 20746
(301) 736-6900

Rockville Office
11801 Rockville Pike, Suite 105
Rockville, MD 20852