Bunion & Hammertoes


Bunion Specialist in Scottsdale, AZ

A bunion is a bony protuberance on the outer surface or at the base of the big toe. The major causes of bunions are heredity and wearing of ill-fitting shoes. The condition often results in swelling, pain around the big toe and discomfort while walking due to restricted movements of the big toe. Desert Orthopedics Center provides expert diagnosis and individualized non-operative and operative treatments for bunions in Scottsdale.  Contact Desert Orthopedics Center’s team for an appointment today!

What is a Bunion?

A bunion, also known as hallux valgus, is a bony protuberance that appears on the outer surface of the big toe when it angles toward the adjacent toe. It is an extra bone and a fluid-filled sac that grows at the base of the big toe.

What are the Common Causes of Bunions?

Bunions are common in women and tend to run in families (heredity). The major cause of bunions is prolonged wearing of ill-fitting shoes such as tight, narrow, and high-heeled shoes that compress the toes and exert excessive pressure while walking. The condition becomes worse and more painful as the bump grows bigger in size. Certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout may also cause bunions.

What are the Symptoms of Bunions?

The most common symptoms of bunions include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain and tenderness around the big toe
  • Turning of the big toe towards the adjacent toe
  • Change in the shape of the foot
  • A bony mass at the joint surface of the big toe
  • Pain and discomfort while walking 
  • Restricted movements of the big toe

How are Bunions Diagnosed?

Your orthopedic surgeon diagnoses a bunion based on the following: 

  • Medical history to rule out diabetes, hypertension or circulatory disorders
  • Physical examination to evaluate the nature of the bunion
  • X-rays to determine bone and soft tissue damage

What are the Conservative Treatments for Bunions?

A bunion may be treated either by non-surgical or surgical methods. 

The non-surgical treatment options include: 

  • Medications to help alleviate pain and associated symptoms
  • Antibiotics to avoid infection
  • Ice packs to reduce inflammation
  • Getting adequate rest
  • Wearing broad-toed shoes that fit properly to reduce the compression of the toes
  • Using bunion pads, cushions and splints to protect and alleviate pain
  • Selecting well-fitted shoes that match the shape of your feet

What is the Surgical Treatment for Bunions? 

The surgical method of removal or excision of a bunion is known as a bunionectomy. The goal of bunion surgery is to relieve pain and restore the normal position and function of the big toe.

What are the Complications of Bunion Surgery?

As with all surgical procedures, bunionectomy may be associated with certain complications. Some of the surgical complications include infection, blood clot formation, recurrence of the bunion, damage to the neighboring nerves, bleeding and unrelieved pain.

What is the Prognosis for Bunions? 

Always try to take care of the bunion at the initial stage by wearing accommodative shoes. In very few cases, postsurgical complications may interrupt the healing of the bunion. If left untreated, it may cause bursitis, gait abnormalities, arthritis, and other serious health problems.

How are Bunions Prevented?

Avoid wearing poorly fitted shoes to prevent irritation and compression of the toes, which may lead to the growth of a bunion.

If you would like to have additional information on the treatment of bunions, please contact Desert Orthopedics Center, serving the communities of Scottsdale, AZ.



What is a Hammer Toe?

A hammertoe is a deformity of a lesser toe (second through fifth toes), where the toe is bent upward at the toe’s middle joint, resembling a hammer. The bent portion may rub against the shoe causing pain, irritation and develop corns. 

What are the Causes of Hammer Toe?

This condition is caused by wearing shoes that are too tight or narrow near the toes, when the second toe is larger than the first, and as a complication of arthritis and certain neuromuscular conditions.

What are the Treatment Options for Hammer Toe?

A hammertoe in the early stages is flexible and may be treated by conservative measures such as strapping, padding and wearing appropriate footwear. 

In more severe cases and when conservative treatment does not help, surgical correction is indicated. Surgery may include a tendon transfer procedure where a tendon is rearranged from the lower side of the toe to the top, to pull the bent joint down and straighten the toe. 

Stiff or fixed hammertoes may be corrected by joint resection or joint fusion (permanent straightening of the toe), which involves cutting tendons and ligaments of the joint and removing part of the bone to help straighten the joint. The straightened toe is held by pins for 3-4 weeks following surgery. Hammertoe correction is usually performed under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis. 

What can be Expected Post Operation?

There may be some swelling, redness, and stiffness following surgery. A special shoe may be ordered to help with walking. 

What are the Risks and Complications of Hammertoe Surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, hammertoe correction may be associated with some risks including infection, bleeding, nerve injury or poor alignment of the toe.


  • american orthopaedic association
  • american medical association
  • cleveland clinic
  • state university of new york