Bunions get worse over time. Bunions became issues for this group sometime between their 20’s and 40’s.
Only 3 of 10 had surgery, due to severe deformity and pain. Some may yet have surgery, or have it a second time. For the others, the achey feet, crossed toes, hammer toes, and other complications were painful enough to seek medical help, but surgery was decided against.
Conservative treatment means wearing wider more comfortable shoes, buying custom or off the shelf orthotic shoe inserts, taking off the shelf pain medication, using topicals like lidocaine creams, massage, and putting their feet up.
Pain and discomfort are the reason they will visit a podiatrist. This means they have usually been living with bunions for good period of time before getting professional help. Almost everyone with bunions is aware that surgery is the last resort and that wearing custom or off the shelf orthotic inserts is something they can do themselves. Off the shelf orthotics are available in almost all shoe stores or departments, so they do not need to see an MD in order to get them. Some have decades of orthotics stored away. I personally have over 40 sets in a bag in my closet.
As a result, almost all the women wear or have worn orthotic shoe inserts for most of their lives. These do, generally, provide comfort and some pain relief, but cannot be worn in all their shoes. This is especially true for women who wear more shoe styles than men.
It’s the narrow pointy toe box. The suggestion to wear wider shoes is not as simple as it sounds. Wider shoes means poorer overall fit and wider, loose heels. Yes, less rubbing on the bunion itself. But at a trade off with ill fitting shoes, overall. But often it’s not the width of the shoe that’s so critical, it’s the narrow, pointy toe box that is the problem. Women, more-so than men, have more of those kinds of shoes.
There’s more. As one female friend told me, that cute size 8 shoe on display isn’t so cute at size 11. Do men have that problem? I don’t think so. Shoes are a more complex issue for women.