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What’s Wrong with My Man’s Foot?

Men do a lot of things really well, but let’s be honest: taking care of their health is not typically a strong suit. Men tend to ignore early foot pain, leading to bigger problems down the road

Is there a man in your life who is “tough” and decides to push through discomfort, never stopping his work, but also not stopping to head to the doctor for help?

Unfortunately, many clichés about men are proven true at the podiatrist’s office—a lot of men like asking for help with their foot pain less than they like asking for directions. Of course, when it comes to directions, we now have lots of great apps like Waze and Google Maps that have pretty much eliminated the need to ask for help getting it around.

But when it comes to your health, we all know that googling your symptoms is a good recipe for disaster—you’ll either become convinced that you have a dire disease, or find support for staying home and walking off an injury that needs medical attention. Not good on either front.

Having said that, sometimes men need a little push to get them in to see the doctor. With that in mind, we’ll take a look at some common foot problems that tend to bother the boys in our lives. If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to get your son, brother, husband, dad…whoever, really—into our American Fork podiatry practice.

Why Men’s Feet Hurt so Often

Men’s feet and ankles often take a hard hit, since many typically ‘male jobs’ and leisure activities are physically taxing. Jobs that involve heavy lifting or long periods of standing take a major toll on men’s feet.

Sports like basketball involve quick cuts and direction changes, which can be extremely hard on men’s ankles. Even if you ignore the obvious dangers of football, simply playing on a hard surface like turf can cause injuries in the small bones of the toes (which is why there’s even a specific name—turf toe—for this kind of injury.)

Now that we understand the why’s of men’s foot injuries, let’s look at some of the most common complaints, all of which should be sending men directly into the doctor’s office.

Top 4 Men’s Foot Injuries and Symptoms

Just like women, men suffer from a variety of foot concerns, but these four are the ones we keep seeing over and over again in our Utah podiatry practice.

Ankle Sprain– Obviously, playing sports can put men at risk of sprained ankles, but just walking down the street can lead to this kind of injury. Here’s the kicker: if you’ve sprained your ankle once, and you didn’t treat it properly, you’re more likely to keep on spraining it, which can result in chronic ankle instability. In other words, guys, if you think you’ve sprained your ankle, go get it checked out, please.

  • Symptoms of a sprained ankle include:
  • Pain, especially when you try to put weight on your bad foot
  • Bruising and/or swelling
  • Limits on your range of motion.

And remember, you often are able to walk on a sprained ankle (although doing so may exacerbate your injury) so don’t use your ability to get around as an excuse to avoid checking out an ankle injury.

Hallux Rigidus—This painful foot condition is caused by a stiffening of the big toe joint. It is a progressive condition, which means that avoiding treatment will make the problem even worse. Golfers, or anyone prone to lots of stooping and squatting, is at risk of developing this condition.

Signs and symptoms include: Early signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the big toe when you walk, stand, bend over or try to use your toe in any way
  • Pain and stiffness that gets worse in cold or damp weather
  • Increased problems with running or squatting down
  • Inflammation, redness or swelling around the big toe

Achilles Tendinitis – this painful inflammation of the Achilles tendon can be caused by a sudden increase of a repetitive activity—men who play sports only on the weekend are thus at greater risk of developing this condition. The basic indication that you have a problem is—you guessed it—pain in your Achilles tendon, most often located at the base of your calf where the tendon connects to your heel.

Broken Toes – When you lift heavy items, they sometimes drop on your toes, often resulting in a fracture. Contrary to popular belief, your doctor needs to treat a broken toe to ensure that it heals correctly.

Symptoms of a broken toe include:

  • Pain
  • An abnormal shape in the affected toe
  • Bruising
  • Color change in the nail
  • Difficulty walking or a feeling that your shoes are too tight
  • Tingling in the affected area
  • Blood under your nail
  • Nail loss

While these injuries are all common, there are so many other foot problems that can become bothersome: dry feet that tend to crack, especially at the heels. Corns, calluses…the list goes on and on, unfortunately. So listen up, men (and the people who love them). You probably (hopefully) wouldn’t ignore chest pain if it lasted for more than a few minutes, so give your feet the same care and attention. If you experience foot pain of any kind, make an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as possible to ensure your continued good health. 

 

Brandt R Gibson, DPM
Podiatrist, Neuropathy Doctor, Father of 11 and Founder of Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute

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