Bone spurs or bunions are different orthopedic issues that can cause foot pain and discomfort. Even though they have distinct characteristics and originate from different anatomical structures, individuals are often confused about whether they are dealing with a bone spur or a bunion. Here, you will gain more information about different symptoms and characteristics. Only then can you know whether you might need bunion surgery or bone spur surgery.
Bone Spur or Bunion – How Are They Different in Appearance
In the case of bunions, a bony lump will be visible at the base of a person’s big toe; however, bone spurs cannot be seen since they affect the bone internally and thus cause pressure to the soft tissue from inside the foot.
You will be able to see the gradual development of a bunion on your foot. However, bone spurs can develop undetected, and only when the person starts feeling pain and discomfort, once the bone status protrudes into the tissue, a diagnosis can be stated.
Bone Spur Characteristics
Here is an overview of the main characteristics of bone spurs:
- They occur as bony protrusions that form along the edges of the bones,
- They are a consequence of degenerative conditions,
- They don’t develop only on the feet but can appear on the spine, hips, knees, shoulders, and hands,
- Sometimes they don’t cause any symptoms,
- When they significantly affect joint function, surgery may be needed to remove it.
Now, let’s have a look at the basic characteristics of bunions:
- Bunion affects the joint at the base of the big toe,
- It is a progressive deformity caused by foot injuries, genetics, or improper footwear,
- The bump that forms can be tender to the touch, red, and swollen,
- They are diagnosed through physical examination or X-rays,
- For bunions, there are non-surgical alternative treatments; however, when it comes to severe cases, bunion surgery may be needed to alleviate the symptoms.
What Is a Bone Spur?
The bone spur represents the growth of an extra bone. The condition generally affects joints at the meeting point of two bones. When the body is attempting to repair cartilage, an extra bone can form beneath a person’s skin. They are different in size and typically cause pain and discomfort; however, one is more likely to develop a bone spur later in life.
What Is a Bunion?
A common foot deformity, a bunion, medically known as hallux valgus, affects the big toe’s base joint. It appears when bones in a person’s foot move and the tip of the big toe leans more towards the smaller toes. The joint sticks out, and the skin becomes sore.
How Are Symptoms and Pain Different?
The main difference pain-wise is that bone spurs cause radiating pain that limits joint function and activity. Even though it doesn’t have to cause problems in the first place, once it starts putting pressure on the soft tissue, the pain will appear. On the other hand, an aching pain characterizes bunions, and the discomfort gets worse after walking or a physical activity.
Bone Spur Symptoms
Typical symptoms include pain, inflammation, and restricted joint movement in the area that is affected. They can irritate the soft tissue and thus cause discomfort and swelling. When bone spurs develop in the spine, a person may feel weakness in the legs and arms.
The protrusion of the metatarsophalangeal joint and the leaning of the big toe is the early symptom. Then, as the deformity progresses, the bunion can cause pain, soreness, and swelling. They can be tender to the touch after walking and physical activity.
Visit Your Doctor in Miami to Help You Diagnose Bone Spur or Bunion
Still unsure whether the pain and swelling are caused by a bunion or a bone spur? Then you require a skilled surgeon to diagnose and treat the condition you are dealing with. Our clinic in Miami is the place to turn to in these situations. The team at the Luxe Foot Surgery clinic will schedule an appointment and find a solution to your issue. Contact us today!