When Other Conditions Are Misdiagnosed as Bunions

If you were diagnosed with bunions and have had unnecessary surgery that hasn’t resolved your original symptoms, your podiatrist may have misdiagnosed you. If this is the case, he or she may be guilty of malpractice, and you may be entitled to substantial damages. At Dental & Podiatry Malpractice Lawyers of New York, we have filed numerous successful lawsuits against podiatrists who failed their patients. If you have suffered serious consequences due to podiatry malpractice, we are here to help.  

Bunions are so commonplace that they may, in some cases, represent a default diagnosis. That is, so many people have bunions that it is possible your podiatrist jumped too quickly to the conclusion that because you have bunions, they must be the cause of your pain. If your doctor did not follow medical protocol by considering other possible diagnoses before putting you through unnecessary surgery, you may have a strong case for podiatry malpractice. Once you contact Lawrence M. Karam, PC, our podiatry malpractice lawyer, he will let you know whether you have the makings of a viable lawsuit.

What are bunions?

Most people are familiar with the appearance of bunions, but many don’t understand their cause. A bunion is a bony bump on the joint at the base of the big toe, resulting from bones 

in the region moving out of place. Caused partially by a genetic tendency and partially by wearing improperly fitted footwear, bunions generally worsen over time and become red and sore

Conditions Your Podiatrist May Have Misdiagnosed as Bunions

Because many foot conditions that are cause toe pain may be less obvious, it is possible that your podiatrist did not take appropriate steps to avoid a misdiagnosis, causing you pain and suffering, or even permanent deformity, while allowing your underlying problem to worsen. If so, Lawrence M. Karam, PC is here to help

Unfortunately, misdiagnoses lead to inappropriate treatment, so many have gone through the trauma of bunion surgery, only to find that they are suffering from exacerbations of one of the following:

1. Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood. Urate crystals form, usually in the big toe joint, mimicking the inflammation, pain, and redness of a bunion

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that may affect any joint, including the big toe. RA is an autoimmune disease that requires ongoing, specific treatments to prevent flare-ups and further disability. The fact that patients with RA are more prone to developing bunions makes misdiagnosis all the more probable unless the doctor does his or her due diligence by administering appropriate blood tests. 

3. Osteoarthritis

This form of arthritis, commonly the result of wear and tear due to aging or serious injury, can also affect the big toe. Once the cartilage that has cushioned the joint bones erodes, the bones scrape together, causing pain and stiffness. To further confuse the issue, patients with the condition may develop a bone spur at the toe joint that resembles a bunion.

4. Bursitis

In patients with bursitis, the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion bones, muscles, and tendons become inflamed. Bursitis, too, can develop at the base of your big toe, resembling a bunion both physically and symptomatically.

5. Ganglion cyst

Ganglion cysts are less likely to be mistaken for bunions since they are soft and disappear when pressed. Nonetheless, the pain and inflammation of a ganglion cyst have, on occasion, been mistaken for a bunion.

6. Sesamoiditis

When the sesamoid bones under the big toe become inflamed, they too may be mistaken for bunions.

As you can see, though to an untrained eye any one of the above conditions might be mistaken for a bunion, any well-trained podiatrist should be well able to distinguish which is which. Failure to do so indicates negligence, both in terms of thoughtlessness and in terms of not employing correct diagnostic procedures to eliminate other causes of patient symptoms. Any podiatrist who doesn’t provide the duty of care a reasonable, competent professional would under the same circumstances be sued for podiatry malpractice. 

About the Author
Of all the different areas in medical malpractice, it is podiatry malpractice that has had a particular interest to me. With 42 years practicing law and representing hundreds of victims of malpractice, I have created a law practice in which my clients are comfortable knowing that their case is being handled with my personal attention, in the most professional manner, and without unreasonable delays.