BACKGROUND: We compared clinical properties and patient satisfaction between spinal anesthesia and popliteal sciatic nerve block (PSNB) for hallux valgus surgery. METHODS: Forty patients undergoing hallux valgus surgery were divided into spinal group (spinal anesthesia with 2.5 ml of 0.5% bupivacaine [n = 20]) and PSNB group (PSNB with 30 ml of 0.75% ropivacaine mixed with 10 ml of normal saline solution using a nerve stimulator [n = 20]). The PSNB group used a patient-controlled-analgesia (PCA) pump for postoperative pain control. The quality and side effects were compared between the two groups. A questionnaire was used to evaluate patient satisfaction with the use of anesthetic techniques and postoperative pain control in the PSNB group. This study was assessed 3 days postoperatively by a blinded observer. RESULTS: Procedure time and time from anesthesia until start of sugery were significantly shorter in the spinal group than those in the PSNB group (P < 0.01). Anesthesia-related complications such as hypotension, bradycardia, shivering, nausea/vomitting, post-dural puncture headache (PDPH) and urinary retension were observed in 15%, 10%, 5%, 5%, 10%, and 20% of patients in the spinal group, respectively. PSNB was not associated with these complications. Patient satisfaction was slightly higher for PSNB than for spinal anesthesia. In the PSNB group, patient satisfaction with postoperative pain-control was 95% above ordinary satisfaction. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the long duration of the procedure, PSNB is relatively safe, provides an adequate level of anesthesia, effectively controls postoperative pain and reduces side effects. Therefore, PSNB could be a potential anesthetic technique for hallux valgus surgery.