PURPOSE To determine preoperative patient expectations and their relative importance for hallux valgus surgery using a patient-derived questionnaire, and whether such expectations are influenced by age, gender, or occupation. METHODS Two patient-derived questionnaires were developed using open-ended interviews. The 19 most commonly stated expectations were included in the Patient Expectation Questionnaire: 2 related to improvement in appearance, 2 to pain reduction, and 15 to functional improvements in performing daily and recreational activities. The top 9 expectations were included in the Patient Priority Questionnaire for prioritising. RESULTS 153 eligible patients aged 16 to 79 (mean, 47) years completed the questionnaires; 29 (19%) aged less than 40 years, 84 (55%) aged 40 to 60 years, and 40 (26%) aged more than 60 years. 86% were women and 81% were Caucasian. 62% were housewives or retired pensioners. Overall, the most important expectation was improved walking, followed by reduced pain over the bunion and wearing daily shoes. These expectations varied according to age and gender but not occupation. CONCLUSION Patient expectations differ from those of surgeons, and vary according to patient age and gender. Understanding preoperative patient expectations is crucial to achieve better clinical outcomes and satisfaction by selecting the most appropriate operation for each patient.