Bunion vs. Bone Spur

Bunion vs Bone Spur

Table of Contents

There are many different foot conditions that people confuse with bunions because of similar symptoms and pain levels. Bone spurs are among the most commonly mentioned ones – they can look almost identical to an untrained eye. So, what’s the difference between big toe joint bunion vs. bone spur? If you want to find out, stay with us – this text will explain all the differences between these two conditions and ways of treatment.

BunionsBone Spurs
DefinitionA bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of the big toe.A bone spur is a bony outgrowth that forms on a bone.
CauseBunions can be caused by wearing tight or high-heeled shoes, genetics, and foot injuries.Bone spurs can be caused by wear and tear on a joint, osteoarthritis, and other conditions that put stress on the bones.
SymptomsBunions can cause the big toe to point towards the other toes and can cause pain, redness, and swelling in the affected area.Bone spurs can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the joint. They can also cause numbness and tingling if they press on nerves.
TreatmentTreatment for bunions may include changing to comfortable shoes, using bunion pads, taking pain medication, and in severe cases, surgery.Treatment for bone spurs may include physical therapy, pain medication, and in severe cases, surgery to remove the bone spur.

What Is a Bunion?

A bunion deformity is a bony protrusion on the inside of the foot. It is caused by an irregular alignment of the bones – more specifically, the first metatarsal bone. As the bone inclines to the inside of the foot, the big toe is pushed towards the second toe. The friction and pressure between them can result in another deformity – hammer toe. Bunions are painful in most cases, which is what drives patients to see the doctor. They can also cause redness and swelling in the area of the big toe joint. Genetic factors and lifestyle choices (the footwear you choose) can represent a predisposition to develop bunions. 

What Is a Bone Spur?

A bone spur can look like a bony bump on the inside of the foot, but it can also be asymptomatic. It’s essentially a growth of extra bone tissue, usually in the joint where the cartilage is supposed to be – when the cartilage is damaged, a bone spur occurs. Trauma and medical conditions such as arthritis can lead to the development of this issue. Old age and obesity are also important risk factors. 

Bunion vs. Bone Spurs – What’s the Difference? 

Bone spur vs. bunion deformity – what is the difference exactly? As mentioned above, both of these conditions can manifest as a bony bump in the area of the big toe joint. Symptoms can be similar – pain, redness, swelling, numbness, and stiffness. However, a bunion is just a representation of the misaligned bones, while a bone spur means additional bone growth. 

What Are the Treatments for Bunion and Bone Spur? 

Pain medication such as NSAIDs and custom orthotics can help temporarily relieve the symptoms of both conditions. However, in case these non-surgical methods don’t work, you will most likely need surgery to fix your foot completely. Of course, different conditions will require different surgical approaches. 

How to Treat Bunions?

The best way to get rid of bunions is bunion surgery, also called a bunionectomy. This is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. There are a few types of bunion surgery procedures that are commonly used these days – shaving of a bunion, osteotomy, and bone fusion. 

How to Treat Bone Spurs?

Symptomatic bone spurs require surgical removal. The procedure to get rid of bone spurs is called osteophytectomy. After the patient is put under general anesthesia, the surgeon makes an incision and then cuts away or shaves the excess bone tissue.

Talk to a Surgeon in Miami Before the Operation

Before you undergo a surgical procedure to fix your foot deformity, your doctor will have to do a detailed evaluation of your condition to determine what it is exactly and the best way to treat it. If you’re looking for a surgeon to help you, you should reach out to our Luxe Foot Surgery clinic in Miami – our doctor will take good care of you. You can schedule a free consultation with our specialist – don’t hesitate to contact us for an appointment. You can reach us by calling our office or filling out an inquiry form on our website. 


Is a Bone Spur the Same as a Bunion?

No, the bone spur isn’t the same as a bunion, although it may look pretty similar in some cases. A bunion is a bony bump on the inside of the foot caused by an irregular alignment of the bones, while a bone spur is a growth of extra bone tissue in the area of the big toe joint. 

How Do I Know if I Have a Bone Spur on My Big Toe?

A bone spur may look like a bunion, but it may also be unnoticeable. It causes redness, swelling, inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the big toe joint. If your doctor suspects you have a bone spur, they will order an X-ray that will show if you have it or not.  

Do I Have a Bunion or Something Else?

A bunion is a bony bump on the inside of the foot – however, if you have a bump in this place, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bunion. It can be a bone spur – you will need to get an X-ray to be diagnosed properly. 

Can a Foot Bone Spur Go Away?

No, bone spurs won’t go away on their own. If you want to get rid of a bone spur, you will need to undergo surgery to fix this condition.


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