If you’re currently suffering from foot pain, you may soon realize that many foot conditions share certain symptoms. Indeed, inflammation, redness, and swelling along the side of the foot could occur for a number of reasons. However, different causes of foot pain can require very different treatments and medical responses. With that in mind, today we’ll break down the key differences between two well-known foot ailments: gout vs bunion. Here’s everything you need to know about bunions and gout: 

What are Bunions?

Bunions form as a result of imbalances in the foot. When pressure is placed on the foot, tendons, ligaments, and muscles can become misaligned. This misalignment forces the foot into unnatural shapes and results in a bony mass forming along the joint of the big toe. The resulting mass is called a bunion. 

Bunions may come about because of lifestyle choices. For instance, individuals who wear tight-fitting shoes (like high heels) are more susceptible to bunions than the average person. However, other individuals may have a genetic predisposition to developing bunions –– particularly as they age.

Bunions typically develop over a long period of time –– years or even decades. What’s more, bunion symptoms are likely to gradually worsen over time. These include: 

  • Growth of the bunion itself.
  • Increased sensitivity to the touch.
  • Redness.
  • General foot pain
  • Difficulty walking or moving. 

 Left untreated, bunions can worsen over time and contribute to additional joint, knee, or even hip pain. 

Characteristics of Bunions

  • Long development time. 
  • Bony mass isolated to the big toe joint. 
  • Difficulty walking. 
  • Most likely to occur over time, with age, or as a result of lifestyle choices.

What is Gout? 

Gout is a complex form of arthritis caused by an excess of uric acid in the blood. The reason why gout may be mistaken for a bunion is that one of the most noticeable symptoms of gout is a red, painful swelling around the big toe joint. 

However, unlike bunions, which form over a long period of time and produce pain gradually, gout often generates sudden and sharp pains. That’s because when excess uric acid builds up in the bloodstream, it forms painful crystals that affect the joints. Note that while gout is most commonly associated with pain in the big toe joints, it may also affect other areas of the body too. 

Gout may occur as a result of both hereditary and lifestyle factors. Some individuals may have difficulty breaking down uric acid naturally. On the other hand, a poor diet can also cause uric acid levels to rise in the body. And individuals who have high blood pressure, who have high cholesterol, and those who are overweight carry a greater possibility of developing gout. Worst of all, gout can also increase the risk of life-threatening conditions like heart attack or stroke. 

Characteristics of Gout

  • Swelling and redness around the big toe joint. 
  • Sharp, stabbing pain. 
  • Potential for joint pain elsewhere in the body. 
  • Most likely to occur as a result of poor diet, weight gain, or genetic factors. 

Contact Us

At Northwest Surgery Center, we have years of experience helping people solve foot-pain issues. If you’re currently struggling with foot pain, then contact us here to schedule a consultation ASAP. Remember, we’re here to help!