Bunion Deformity (Hallux Valgus) Treated at Mercy Medical Center

Our surgeons at The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of bunion deformity or hallux valgus. Mercy offers multiple types of surgical treatment for bunion deformity correction.

About the Condition

The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy - Baltimore, MDWhat is a Bunion?

A bunion occurs when the big toe angles towards the second toe. This makes a painful prominence along the inside of the foot, known as a bunion. 

The prominence can rub on the inside of the shoe making walking and exercise very difficult. 

In severe cases, the bunion can affect the lesser toes as well, causing further pain and deformity.

What Causes Bunions?

Bunions can be caused by:

Bunions occur most commonly in women who wear fashionable shoes with a narrow toe box and high heels. These types of shoes force the toes into a narrow wedge shape. Over time this can result in the big toe moving laterally. 

Not all women who wear heels get bunions, and men can suffer from bunions as well. There may also be a hereditary component to the development of bunions. Patients with “inherited” bunions often have abnormally shaped bones or joints that put them at risk. 

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

What are the Symptoms of a Bunion?

  • Redness, skin irritation over bunion from rubbing
  • Pain with shoe wear
  • Less painful when barefoot or with comfortable shoes
  • Severe bunions may result in secondary pain and calluses under the ball of the foot
  • Hammertoes
  • Numbness
  • Cosmetic deformity
  • Limited shoe wear

How are Bunions Diagnosed?

Bunions are diagnosed on physical exam by the foot and ankle specialist. The exam focuses on how severe the deformity is and if the big toe joint is flexible or stiff. 

The physician will also look for other areas of pain or deformity in the foot associated with the bunion. X-rays with the patient standing are necessary to accurately assess the degree of angulation of the big toe joint and to plan for possible surgery. 

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Conservative Treatment for Bunions

Conservative treatment is directed at protecting the bunion from pressure or friction caused by shoe wear. The simplest solution is to wear properly fitted shoes that are wide enough to accommodate the forefoot.

Shoe repair stores can often stretch the material over the bunion to prevent rubbing. Other strategies attempt to cushion or offload the bunion and can include:

  • Shoe wear modification
  • Bunion pads
  • Toe spacers
  • Orthotics
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications 

Surgical Treatment for Bunions

The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

The goals of surgery are to relieve pain. Patients who do not have pain should not consider surgery. Surgery should only be performed after all conservative measures have failed.  

Mercy surgeons offer many different types of bunion surgery including a minimally invasive bunion surgery option that is not widely available at other institutions.

It is critical that the foot and ankle specialist carefully evaluate your foot to determine which surgery is best for your specific deformity in order to avoid recurrence.

Bunion surgery includes:

  • Removing the bony prominence on the side of the foot (bunionectomy)
  • Cutting or fusing the 1st metatarsal bone to re-align it and make the forefoot more narrow
  • Cutting the big toe bone (phalanx) to straighten the toe
  • Tightening ligaments that have become stretched out

NEXT: Patient Stories ›
Patient Stories
The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy - Baltimore, MD


Marissa shares her speedy recovery from an advanced, minimally invasive surgery to remove painful bunions.

The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy


Laticia suffered from constant foot pain caused by bunions. Following the "excellent" outcome of a bunionectomy performed by Dr. Clifford Jeng on her right foot, Laticia returned to have the procedure on her left foot as well. 

Meet Our Doctors: Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction
The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy - Baltimore, MD
Rebecca Cerrato, M.D.

Dr. Rebecca Cerrato, a Board Certified orthopedic surgeon at The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy, is highly regarded for her expertise in foot and ankle disorders.

Patient Story: Ankle Sprains
Ulka - Mercy Patient

Remember the acronym RICE when you sprain your ankle: rest, ice, compression, elevation. When pain persists after a day, see a doctor.

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