Bunions, for better or worse, are sometimes thought of as an “old lady” problem. There’s certainly a kernel of truth to that stereotype—women are about 9 times more likely than men to develop the condition, and risk increases with age.
However, that viewpoint overlooks the truth that anyone, including men and children, can and do develop this painful foot deformity. You don’t have to be an old lady, or wear high heels. In fact, perhaps 10 million American men (or more) suffer from the condition.
Although bad shoes can act as a catalyst for developing a bunion—or making an existing one worse—the most fundamental underlying cause for most bunions is a genetically inherited foot structure, such as flat feet. Men are of course genetically influenced by both of their parents, so if bunions run in your family history (even from your mother), you may well be at increased risk. Other factors that can lead to bunion development in men include neuromuscular disorders, arthritis (particularly RA), a short Achilles tendon, and frequently wearing tight or pointed toe shoes.
Unfortunately, for various reasons, men may be less likely than women to seek treatment for their bunions, especially in the early stages. Some men simply don’t realize there is a problem because they aren’t paying as close attention to their feet, or don’t realize that they can get bunions in the first place. Others may be reluctant to seek medical help generally, or may even be embarrassed to reveal a condition so heavily associated with women.
However, we strongly urge you to seek help as soon as you realize an issue. Just as with women, a man with a bunion may deal with constant pain and difficulty finding shoes that fit properly. Worse, a bunion will only get worse without corrective action. There’s no reason to feel ashamed—millions of other men are in the same position, and you can’t do much about your genetics. The most important thing is to stop the problem before it becomes so severe that your quality of life is significantly diminished and surgery is the only viable option.
If you’re a man with a bunion, don’t tough it out—seek help from Dr. Harvey Danciger in Palm Desert, CA. Let us help you manage your underlying foot conditions and get you back on your feet, pain free. You can request an appointment online, or call us at 760-568-0108.