See a Bunions Specialist in Chattanooga

Let’s find the appropriate treatment for your painful bunion. Our podiatrist welcomes English- and Spanish-speaking residents in the greater Chattanooga area. Schedule your visit today.

Book Your Appointment

Schedule your visit through a phone call or our patient portal. Once your appointment has been booked, our clinic will confirm through voice call or SMS text. Same-day appointments and walk-ins are accepted.

See Our Podiatrist

During your visit, our podiatrist takes a look at your bunions and determines a treatment plan. Bunions vary — some require simple treatment methods, while some might need surgery.

Treat Your Bunions

Once our podiatrist and patient agree upon the plan, treatment begins. You receive educational materials about bunions, too. We also schedule follow-ups as necessary.


You will be attended by Dr. Maria Pacheco, DPM, who is certified in Foot Surgery by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery and certified with the American Board of Podiatric Medicine.

With over 9 years of experience as a podiatrist, Dr. Pacheco has handled a wide range of bunion conditions in Chattanooga. Our team will determine the best procedure for your case.

More importantly, Dr. Pacheco and the Chattanooga Foot & Ankle Clinic genuinely care for our patients. We understand that having a bunion stops you from living your best life, so we’ll work together to create an effective treatment plan.

Get to know your foot doctor in Chattanooga.

Dr. Maria Pacheco

“Everything that I have heard bout Dr. Pacheco is true – she is professional and very kind and interested in your condition!”

William M.

Bunions: Your Condition Explained

Bunions are a painful, bony bump on the side of the big toe. They’re also known as hallux valgus. Instead of pointing ahead, your big toe leans inward toward your second toe. This throws your bones out of alignment, causing bunions.

Bunions don’t grow overnight; they develop over a long period. Constant pressure on the big toe joint causes the alignment of the bones to change. Some of the bones, the phalanx bones, angle toward the second toe.

As a result, the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint grows larger and protrudes from the inside of the foot. The enlarged MTP joint becomes the painful bunion. In fact, the word bunion comes from the Old French word for bump on the head or swelling from a blow.  

Bunions have a distinct appearance, but please see our podiatrist to confirm your condition.

  • The Bump. Bunions appear as a bulging bump on the outside of the base of your big toe. This is usually accompanied by:
    • Swelling around the big toe
    • Soreness
    • Redness
  • Corns and Calluses. In many cases, corns and calluses develop where the toes rub against one other.
  • Pain. Bunions are also often painful and limit the movement of your big toe.

Take note, too, that symptoms appear at the latter stages, so we recommend seeing our foot doctor as soon as possible.

Bunions are progressive, meaning they start small but may grow larger with time, especially if you continue habits that make them worse. The bigger your bunions get, the more painful they become. The more difficult it is to walk, too.

Overlap with Second Toe

Severe bunions may even cause the big toe to overlap with the second toe. The second toe, in turn, may even be pushed out of alignment and affect the third toe.


Advanced bunions may also cause bursitis, the inflammation of the bursa sac. A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that forms over a joint to decrease friction.  In the case of bunions, bursitis may cause additional pain and discomfort. It may even damage the smooth cartilage surround the joint.


The causes of bunions include:

  • Ill-Fitting Shoes. Wearing shoes with a narrow and pointed toe box pushes the toes into an unnatural position, especially the big toe. Bunions may develop if you wear these types of footwear for long hours, over a long period.
  • Heredity. Some people may have been born with a predisposition to developing bunions. Additionally, some people may have deformities at birth that increase the chances of bunions.
  • Inflammatory Conditions. People who have an inflammatory condition (like rheumatoid arthritis) may have a higher likelihood of developing bunions.

Please remember that this list is for informational purposes and doesn’t constitute medical advice. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Pacheco to get the best treatment plan for your condition.

Conservative Treatments

Conservative and non-surgical treatments don’t get rid of or reverse a bunion. However, they may reduce the pain and swelling and prevent the bump from worsening. These include:

  • Wearing the Right Shoes. Our first goal is to relieve the pressure on the bunion, so you might have to toss pinchy, tight, or rigid footwear. A wide and flexible pair will accommodate the bunion.
  • Using Pads and Shoe Inserts. Pads protect the bunion so it won’t hurt. Our podiatrist may also recommend custom shoe inserts and toe spacers to correct the position of the toes.
  • Taking Medications. Our foot doctor may prescribe medications to help reduce the swelling and alleviate the pain.

Surgical Treatments

For more serious conditions, a surgical treatment called bunionectomy may be necessary. There are different types of bunionectomies, but they fall into two categories.

  • Head Procedures. In these procedures, the surgeon cuts the bone behind the joint, moves it into the proper position, and fixes it in place with a pin or screw.
  • Base Procedures. In these procedures, the surgeon may 1) cut a wedge out of the bone so that the bone can be placed in the proper position; 2) fusing the joint; and 3) making a semi-circular cut and rotating the bone into position.

In most cases, bunionectomies are performed on an outpatient basis at our Chattanooga clinic. Our podiatrist will explain every step, including the preparations and recovery.

Tailor’s Bunions or Bunionette

Apart from traditional bunions, our Chattanooga clinic also accommodates people with Tailor’s bunions. In contrast to the traditional bunion, which is located at the base of the big toe, a Tailor’s bunion is located on the outer base of the smallest toe.

Despite the different placement, it’s still painful and often swollen. It’s caused by ill-fitting footwear that pinches the front part of the foot.


Wearing the right shoes reduces the chances of developing bunions. The footwear should not squeeze or press any part of the toes. Additionally, avoid high heels or pointed toes all the time.  It also pays to monitor the shape of your feet if bunions run in your family.

Find Out the Right Treatment for Your Bunion

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Pacheco to mitigate pain and prevent your bunion from worsening.

About Our Chattanooga Clinic

We look forward to helping you get back on your feet and keep moving.


Chattanooga Foot & Ankle Clinic accepts insured and self-pay patients. We accommodate Cigna, Aetna, Medicare, and Tenncare.

Patient Age Range

Our podiatrist welcomes patients who are 5 years old and above. We treat a range of foot and ankle issues apart from bunions.

Bilingual Service

Dr. Pacheco is bilingual, so she sees English- and Spanish-speaking patients, whether they live in Chattanooga or visiting from out of town.

Patient Intake Form

If you’re a new patient, please complete this form before visiting for your bunion consultation.

Patient Portal

Log into the Chattanooga Foot & Ankle Clinic Patient Portal to schedule or cancel appointments.

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Feedback from the people we have had the privilege to help:

"She truly care for her patients! Dr. Pacheco takes her time with each patient, as if she has all day! She is very thorough in her work, always has a smile on her face!!"

Kristi Phillips Patient

If she had not diagnosed my Charcot Foot, hospital would have sent me home. I could not walk and my bones were breaking. Thanking God for sending her our way.

L Bond Patient

"Awesome staff and doctor. They take time time and care for their patients. To explain to you they way that you understand"

Mark Tatham Patient

Dr. Pacheco is always professional. She is knowledgeable, friendly, and explains things in a way the average patient can understand.

Thomas Bartley Patient

Dr. Pacheco is an intelligent and understanding doctor. She improved my problem in a short amount of time. She is very nice and friendly.

Angela Patient


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9 Years of Experience treating foot and ankle ailments of all types

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Comfortable Environment

Our team understands that having bunions is a painful and often debilitating condition, which is why we create a comfortable and calm environment at our clinic. We try to minimize the stress and put our patients at ease.

Advice for Patients

Chattanooga Foot & Ankle Clinic keeps abreast of developments in treatments for foot and ankle issues, including bunions. We provide you with the appropriate treatment for your case.

Rehabilitation of Foot and Ankle

Our goal is to help our patients recover quickly so that they can get back on their feet. We’ll also explain every step of the procedure if your bunions require surgery.

Empathy for Our Patients’ Condition

Chattanooga Foot & Ankle Clinic believes in kindness. We want our patients to feel that they are heard, and their issues are addressed. Our practice advocates empathy, no matter your condition.

Relieve the Pain from Your Bunion

Schedule a consultation, so Dr. Pacheco can check and treat your bunion.