Specialty Orthopaedics, PLLC

600 Mamaroneck Avenue Suite 101 

Harrison, New York 10528 

Tel: 914.686.0111 

Fax:  914.686.8964 






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    What is a bunion?

    Bunion is a latin term used to describe a bump on the foot near the big toe.  In most cases the big toe is aligned towards the second toe and occasionally even crosses over or under the second toe.  Hallux valgus is the medical term for a bunion with misalignment.   

    Because of misalignment and bony prominence, bunions frequently cause pain.  Pain is usually caused by tight shoes rubbing on the bump, resulting in pressure and irritation on the bone and soft tissues.  Occasionally, the bunion can progress, forcing the second or even the third toe to misalign as well.

    What causes a bunion?

    Bunions can be inherited, can arise from trauma, or can develop from wearing shoes that are too tight.  The most common cause of bunion pain and progression of deformity is inappropriate shoewear.  Fashionable shoes tend to be low profile, have a narrow toe box, and a high heel. These types of shoes force the toes together, resulting in pain and worsening of the deformity.  Because of the shape of fashionable footwear, women have symptomatic bunions much more frequently than men.


    How are bunions treated?

    Most bunions are asymptomatic and require no specific treatment. If a bunion is painful, the initial treatment should always include properly fitting shoes.  If the shoe accommodates the deformity, then frequently the painful symptoms disappear.  Gel cushons on areas of bony prominence and trimming of painful calluses may also be helpful.  There is mixed opinion regarding whether custom inserts (orthotics) or night splinting helps to prevent worsening of deformity or recurrence of symptoms.

    If symptoms persist despite an adequate trial of non-operative treatment, surgery may be a reasonable alternative.  You may consider bunion surgery if you:

    • Are experiencing severe pain from a bunion
    • Have tried conservative treatment options without bunion pain relief
    • Are experiencing difficulty walking
    • Are unable to wear your normal shoes due to a bunion

    What does bunion surgery (bunionectomy) involve?

    There are over 140 different surgeries that have been described to treat a bunion.  Depending on your history, physical examination, and x-rays, Dr McWilliam will develop a plan to effectively improve your pain correct your deformity. This may involve simple removal of the bump or, more likely, cutting the bones in the foot to realign them or even opening up joints in the foot to realign and fuse them.

    Ideally, the surgery can be performed in a minimally invasive fashion, through small incisions, resulting in less postoperative pain and faster healing.  Dr McWilliam has pioneered minimally invasive surgery of the foot and ankle in the United States and regularly instructs other surgeons in these techniques nationally and internationally.

    If the deformity is severe, larger incisions may be required, or the adjacent toes may need to be realigned as well.  This may involve a longer recovery.

    Following your bunionectomy, there will be certain recovery steps that you’ll need to follow according to your surgeon’s recommendations. We will go through all these steps with you personally and address any concerns or questions you may have at that time. Our goal is to help you get back to walking and wearing your regular shoes as soon as possible.




    Dr McWilliam is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon who has fellowship training in, and specializes in, foot and ankle surgery.  In the United States he has pioneered minimally invasive procedures for the foot and ankle including surgery for painful bunions. He frequently provides training to other surgeons on the national and international level, particularly in minimally invasive surgery of the foot and ankle.

    If you are interested in bunionectomy (hallux valgus) surgery, visit Specialty Orthopaedics. Our New York orthopedic practice is home to a team of fellowship-trained orthopedists in a variety of specialty areas, including the foot and ankle. We offer comprehensive treatment for musculoskeletal disorders in a caring and responsive clinical atmosphere. Give us a call at 914.686.0111 or fill out the form on this page to schedule your appointment today.