Bunion and gout affect many Singaporeans, and can lead to a noticeable drop in quality of life such as reduced mobility and constant pain. Learn more about the differences between bunion and gout, and whether you may require bunion surgery in Singapore.
Bunions, also known as hallux valgus, are bony lumps that form on the joint at the base of one’s big toe, and occur when some of the bones in the front of your foot move out of place. As a result, the tip of the big toe is pulled towards the other toes, forcing the joint at its base to protrude outwards. Some common signs and symptoms of bunions include soreness, redness, or swelling around the big toe’s joint, pain that comes and goes or is ongoing, as well as reduced movement of the big toe. In severe cases, bunion surgery in Singapore may be necessary.
One of the main causes of bunions is wearing ill-fitting footwear for prolonged durations, such as tight and narrow shoes as well as high heels. Bunions can also form due to medical conditions such as arthritis or naturally as a result of inherited foot shape or foot deformities present at birth. In addition, people with occupations that involve a lot of standing, walking, or foot stress are also at higher risk of developing bunions.
Gout is a common form of arthritis that occurs when urate crystals accumulate in your joint, leading to inflammation and intense swelling and pain, also known as a gout attack. It differs from bunions in that it can occur at other joints besides the big toe, as well as having a greater intensity of joint pain. In addition, bunions form over a long period of time, while gout often occurs suddenly and intensely. Some causes of gout include a poor diet, high blood pressure or cholesterol, being overweight, an inactive lifestyle, and hereditary factors.
While rest and icing may temporarily alleviate symptoms of both bunions and gout, you are encouraged to visit an orthopaedic clinic if severe symptoms persist. An experienced orthopaedic surgeon will first diagnose the extent of your condition before recommending the most appropriate treatment.
There are several ways to treat bunions, ranging from noninvasive methods such as changing one’s footwear to relieve pressure and rubbing, or bunion surgery for severe cases where footwear adjustments are no longer effective. Adapting footwear is usually the first step in treating bunions, such as bunion pads to prevent rubbing against the inside of your shoe, orthotic inserts that create a more comfortable position to relieve pressure, as well as toe spacers to be placed between your big and second toes to properly align them.
Bunion surgery in Singapore involves making incisions along the affected portion of one’s foot to remove or realign damaged bones and tissues. There are various types of bunion surgery; such as a bunionectomy which involves a small incision to remove the bump and smoothen the bone’s rough edges, and distal/proximal osteotomies which are more complex surgeries that help realign the metatarsal bones.
Gout is most often treated by using ice packs and medications such as NSAIDs, colchicine, and corticosteroids to relieve symptoms during gout attacks, as well as lifestyle changes such as losing weight and consuming a diet lower in uric acid and purines. In contrast to bunions which can be easily dealt with, gout tends to be a long-term condition and requires constant and permanent management to prevent future flare ups of gout.
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