Our Blog

Posts for tag: bunions

By Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle
August 27, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: bunions  

Bunion TreatmentBunions are an abnormality of the joint at the base of the big toe that causes it to jut outward, often leaving the shape of the foot deformed. Although many people have bunions that don't affect their lives, the podiatrists Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle in Waldorf Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer see many patients who experience pain and difficulty walking due to bunions. If that sounds like you, read on to learn about the way bunions are treated.

Cushions and pads

Cushioning bunions from rubbing against the inside of shoes is often the first line of defense in treating them. There are a variety of these soft, lightweight pads available at your local pharmacy; your Waldorf podiatrist can make suggestions on which will be best for you. It may also help to wear shoes that leave plenty of room in the toe area; bunions are thought to be caused or exacerbated by tight-fitting footwear.


These corrective devices are often worn at night to help gradually guide the displaced toe joint back into the proper position. Depending on your needs, a splint may be soft or rigid. Splints may be used in tandem with cushions to provide you with the most consistent relief and opportunity for healing.


If your bunions don't respond to the treatments discussed above, you may be a candidate for bunion surgery. Although there are several different surgical techniques that are used on bunions, the ultimate goal is to restore your foot to the proper shape by removing the outgrowth of bone and repositioning the displaced muscles and tissues.

If you have a bothersome bunion, it's time to contact your podiatrist in Clinton and Waldorf, MD for an evaluation at Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle today!

By Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle
August 17, 2017
Category: Foot Care
Tags: bunions  

Don’t let bunion pain affect your daily activities. Find out how to manage your symptoms.bunions

While most people will go about their daily lives without even noticing that they have a bunion, there are some who face such terrible pain that day-to-day activities are often challenging. If your bunion pain is getting the better of you, our Clinton and Waldorf, MD, podiatrists Dr. Larry Hotchkiss and Dr. Justin Pointer have some simple self-care solutions that could help ease your angry bunion.


If you find that your feet often become stiff then it’s time you performed some daily stretching exercises. These exercises can be performed throughout the day at your convenience. The great thing is that you can also perform them anywhere.

By placing a strap over your big toe, lightly pulling on the toe and holding that stretch for 30 seconds you can help to reduce tightness and joint stiffness. Talk to our Waldorf, MD, foot doctors about other foot stretches you can do from the comfort of your own home.

Supportive Shoes

A lot of people find that their bunion symptoms get worse if they don’t have shoes that offer the support and stability that they need. In fact, high heels, shoes with pointed toes and tight-fitted shoes can put too much pressure on the joint and make bunion symptoms worse. If this is happening to you then it’s time you chose shoes that give your toes room to wiggle and move around.


If you find that even purchasing bunion-friendly footwear isn’t enough then you may want to talk to us about whether custom orthotics could provide even more support for your tired, sore feet. Custom orthotics are specially crafted shoe inserts that are designed to improve structural imbalances and provide your feet with what they need to relieve pain and other symptoms.

If bunion pain is affecting your quality of life then it’s time you turned to Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle in Waldorf and Clinton, MD. We can help create a treatment plan that will cater to your needs and reduce your symptoms. Schedule an appointment today.

By Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle
October 04, 2016
Category: Foot Conditions

Here’s a foot fact you may initially find surprising: at Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle once temperatures turn cooler and fall arrives, we see an increase in two conditions in our women patients, bunions and Haglund’s Deformity. Why? Autumn brings back closed toe and back shoes and that’s when these two problems become especially noticeable.

Bunions—this bone deformity occurs when the big toe begins to move out of place and causes the joint at the base of the big toe to enlarge and protrude. Closed toe shoes or high heels that force toes into the front of the shoe irritate the bunion as the shoe rubs over the bump. As the condition worsens, the skin becomes more irritated and tender and corns or calluses may also form making it increasingly painful to walk.

Haglund’s Deformity—this condition is also known as “pump bump” or retrocalcaneal bursitis. It is an enlargement that forms on the back of the heel bone—right about at the point where the back of a pump hits your foot, hence the name “pump bump.”

Getting Relief

For both of these conditions, our board certified podiatrist, Dr. Larry Hotchkiss will want to examine your foot and take a medical history; there are hereditary components to both bunions and Haglund’s Deformity. In some cases an x-ray may be necessary to completely assess the progression of the condition. Once a diagnosis is confirmed the foot doctor will recommend the right treatment for you. One simple way to relieve the pain of both of these problems is by changing the type of shoes you are wearing or using padding to protect the painful area. Other treatment methods aimed at pain relief may include anti-inflammatory medications and icing.

If autumn has brought you to the point where you no longer want to put up with the pain of a bunion or Haglund’s Deformity, contact our Waldorf or Clinton office for an appointment and learn how to get rid of the pain and make walking a pleasure again.

By Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle
June 28, 2016
Tags: bunions   blisters   corns   calluses  

It’s summer time and that means sandals and open shoes and going barefoot at the beach or pool. If you have a bunion it’s difficult to ignore during this season. At Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle, we want patients to know that “doing nothing” about a bunion is not healthy. Bunions are a progressive condition caused by a deformity in the bone of the big toe that results in an enlargement of the joint at the base of the toe. Gradually, this enlarged joint forces the toe out of place, pushing it toward the next toe and producing a large bump on the side of your foot.

Worse than being unattractive, bunion deformities become increasingly painful and debilitating the longer they are left untreated. Shoes rub and press on the bump causing blisters, corns and calluses and arthritis or bursitis often develops in these stressed joints causing extreme pain with every step you take.

Treatment Options

That’s why it’s important to come into our Waldorf or Clinton office and let our podiatrist, Dr. Larry Hotchkiss, evaluate your bunion. Although surgery to remove the bunion and properly reposition the toe is sometimes the only choice to prevent a patient from becoming permanently disabled, the foot doctor has several other conservative treatment options that can be tried first. These include:

  • Fixing your footwear. Wearing shoes that are designed to accommodate the bunion without rubbing or pressing on it can slow the growth of the bunion by reducing the pressure put on it. Orthotic devices may be recommended as well to help properly position the foot and stabilize the joint.

  • Cleaning up calluses. Removing calluses and corns that have formed on the skin as a result of the bunion can decrease pain and irritation.

  • Adding padding. Strategically placing pads on the feet can reduce or even eliminate pain rubbing from shoes.

  • Splinting at night. This can line the toe and joint up correctly and help keep them in place. This is particularly suggested for teens whose bone development may still be somewhat malleable.

  • Exercise. Stretches and exercises for the toes and feet can relieve stiffness, maintain the joint’s range of motion and prevent arthritis.

If you have a bunion, contact our office for an appointment and learn how to get relief.

By Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle
June 15, 2016
Category: Foot Conditions
Tags: bunions   Morton's neuroma   Capsulitis  

You have been experiencing pain on the bottom of your foot. It almost feels as if there is rock in your shoe or that your sock is bunched up. As time goes by you begin to notice swelling around the base of one of your toes. If this is you, it’s time to make an appointment at the Clinton or Waldorf office of Southern Maryland Foot & Ankle. These symptoms point to capsulitis, sometimes known as pre-dislocation syndrome but they are similar to the symptoms of other disorders including Morton’s Neuroma. Our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Larry Hotchkiss will do a careful examination of your foot, manipulating it to reproduce your symptoms. Digital x-rays (which can be done in either of our offices) and possibly other imaging studies will be ordered to enable an accurate diagnosis.

Possible Causes

Capsulitis is actually an inflammation of the ligaments which surround a toe joint, forming a “capsule.” The condition most often occurs in the second toe, but can affect the third or fourth toe. The reason the ligaments become inflamed is because of a defect in the mechanics of the foot whereby the ball of the foot under the affected toe joint is subject to excessive pressure from weight-bearing activities. Some factors that make one more prone to this disorder include:

  • Second toe being longer than the big toe

  • A very bad bunion

  • Tight calf muscles

  • An unstable arch

Wearing high heels or ill-fitting shoes and activities that require repeated toe bending, such as ladder climbing and getting up and down off the floor, can all be contributing factors to Capsulitis.

Getting Treatment

Capsulitis is a progressive disorder and won’t disappear on its own. In fact, left untreated, the affected toe will begin to drift toward the next toe and eventually become dislocated and cross over the neighboring toe. Fortunately, the foot doctor has a number of non-invasive treatment options, including stretching exercises, taping the toe and the use of custom orthotics to reposition the foot. Early treatment is key, however, so if you are experiencing pain or discomfort in the bottom of your foot, contact us today by calling: (301) 868-3899 or (301) 843-9581.