Gout and bunion problems appear in the foot. The two are very different conditions that manifest symptoms that can be misleading, mainly because some of the symptoms appear similar. Therefore, it is vital to establish what each is, the causes, actual symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, ways of prevention, and any other potent differences. To offer you a clear understanding of the two, we get into finer details about gout vs. bunion in this article.
The key differences between gout and bunion
Scientifically or medically, the name for gout is “gouty arthritis”, while that for bunions is “Hallux Valgus”. Gout is mainly an inflammatory kind of arthritis, while a bunion is a bony disfigurement of the big toe which mainly appears as a bone misalignment of the toe. Developing a bunion is more of a mechanical problem, and the big toe can push against the second toe to cause a bulge in your foot.
Gout will develop due to excessive quantities of uric acid in the bloodstream brought about by an excretion failure by the kidneys. The exact cause of a bunion is not known. However, it is linked strongly to genetics, injury, anatomical and congenital deformity. Flat feet and ill-fitting footwear worsen a bunion. Gout is systematic, while bunions are primarily localized toe deformities.
Gout is more prevalent and affects more men, while bunions are more prevalent among women.
Last but not least, gout may occur in any one or multiple joints of the body. A bunion is evident, and it only occurs on one or both of the big toes.Gout starts with depositions in the big toe which other joints and tissues can follow. If gout affects the big toe only, it is referred to as podagra.
With gout, you are likely to experience symptoms such as; a sudden and excruciatingly painful joint, inflammation, tenderness, redness in the great toe, warmth or a heat sensation, and swelling on the affected joint. Having gout can cause you to suffer from difficulty or the inability to move the affected joint(s).
With bunions, you suffer from a visible bony swelling or lump, which is painful when walking. Bunions also cause the skin to thicken(calluses), itch, and the difficulty or inability to move your big toe. Redness and swelling are absent.
Physicians can diagnose gout by carrying out a simple blood test. This test is meant to measure the amount of uric acid present in one’s bloodstream. To look at the availability of uric acid crystals, physicians can also carry out a fluid suction from the affected joint for diagnosis. This is what is termed as a joint fluid test, and the crystals are shown under a microscope. An ultrasound or X-ray can also be performed.
Bunions are primarily diagnosed using radiographs, whereby the growth is revealed through a foot X-ray scan.
Both of these conditions can be primarily diagnosed through a local physician consultation. From there on, they can be brought to the attention of a podiatrist (foot specialist), a rheumatologist( inflammation specialist), or orthotics( mobility specialists). Through these professionals, you can ascertain whether you have gout or a bunion.
Gout requires a medical diagnosis. On the other hand, a bunion is self-diagnosable, but at times it also requires a medical interpretation. Self-diagnosis is not advocated for, so always get a physician’s confirmation.
Prevention and treatment options
Gout can be controlled by the administration of anti-inflammatory drugs to control and relieve pain. Medication that reduces the levels of uric acid can also be administered. Dietary adjustments and losing excess weight are recommended for gout prevention.
Bunions need conservative treatments like altering footwear, using shoe inserts, and orthotics- accommodative splints or padding that fit the bunion. These provide a form of padding to prevent pain and offer relief. Ice packs, rest, and painkillers can also be used.
With a bunion, it helps to tap the foot as a form of massage gently. Bunions can be prevented by avoiding high heels or very tight shoes. Those with bunions can reduce the suffering by not standing for too long.
If conservative treatments fail and one suffers repeated bunions, a minimally invasive surgery can be done to correct the deformity. The surgery removes the tissue or bone from the affected big toe. Surgery can also be done to join or realign bones situated around the big toe permanently.
Doctors will rarely turn to surgery for gout as gout is treatable without surgery. However, chronic gout or gout that goes untreated for too long can reach a very advanced stage that may need surgical intervention. Such cases cause gritty nodules on the joints referred to as tophi. Tophi are uncomfortable and bring about possibilities of dangerous infections. For example, tophaceous gout can result in irreparable joint damage. For such scenarios, a professional may recommend surgical treatment. The surgeries may include; joint fusion, tophi removal, or a joint replacement.
It is crucial that you do not ignore any bump, swelling, or continuous soreness on your foot, particularly on the big toe. It may be a case of gout or bunion. For an accurate diagnosis, such symptoms must be brought to a doctor’s attention. We hope that we have offered you essential information regarding gout vs. bunion, not to be confused anymore.
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