Bunions are one of the most common medical conditions that one can experience on their feet. Reports suggest that roughly 1 in 3 adults will experience bunions during their lifetime. Bunions occur fairly easily as a result of the natural shape of one’s foot or common mistakes such as wearing shoes that don’t fit properly. While bunions are common and can be treated relatively easily, the frustrating truth is that many other foot problems can have similar traits as bunions, such as bone spurs.

Although it can be easy to confuse bunions with bone spurs,  there are a few key differences between the two that set them apart. Treatment for bunions and bone spurs is different, so it is important to visit your doctor to get a proper diagnosis before opting for a particular method of treatment. 

So, how do you tell the difference between a bunion vs. bone spur?

First, you should understand what a bunion is. A bunion is a bony bump that can form on the joints of your big and little toes. They are often painful and make daily activities such as walking or even just wearing your favorite shoes fairly difficult. People experiencing bunions have several options for treatment depending on the location, severity, and cause of the issue. The most common cause of bunions is wearing the wrong shoes. This can include high heels that put uncomfortable strain on your foot or just shoes that don’t fit properly. Genetics can also play a part in the formation of bunions, as the shape and structure of bones in the feet can make some people more susceptible than others to bunion formation.

What is a Bone Spur?

Bone spurs are the growth of an extra bone, typically at a joint where two bones meet. Bone spurs occur when the body is trying to repair missing cartilage, resulting in an extra bone forming beneath the skin.

Bone spurs can vary in size, and are oftentimes more painful than bunions. Similar to bunions, your shoes can impact your chance of experiencing a bone spur; if your shoes do not fit correctly, your cartilage is more likely to deteriorate, causing a bone spur to form. Obesity and old age also lead to higher risks for experiencing painful bone spurs. 

Bunion vs. Bone Spurs

The main similarity between bunions vs bone spurs is that both feel like a bump on your big toe’s joint. Additionally, both can cause redness and swelling of the toes and surrounding areas, and both can form as a result of wearing improper or poorly fitting shoes. 

There are, however, some major differences between bunions and bone spurs. Bunions are a deformity of the bones and a soft-tissue imbalance. Bone spurs are most often formed by trauma to the joint. 

Contact Northwest Surgery Center

Although bunions and bone spurs can appear to be similar, they both require vastly different methods of treatment. Distinguishing the differences of a bunion vs. bone spurs on your own can be hard. Schedule a consultation with Northwest Surgery Center today to speak to one of our expert team members and put a stop to your pain today!