-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
MONDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- If you've got bunions,
chances are others in your family suffer from the common foot
disorder, with a new study finding the condition is often passed
down from parents to children.
Reporting in the May issue of
Arthritis Care & Research, researchers found that people
of European descent often inherit conditions such as bunions or
other toe deformities.
"Our study is the largest investigation of the heritability of common foot disorders in older adults," Dr. Marian Hannan, from Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in a journal news release. She said the data confirms "that bunions and lesser toe deformities are highly inheritable in [white] men and women of European descent."
Up to 60 percent of older adults have a foot disorder, which
could limit their ability to get around and hamper quality of life.
Prior research revealed that 23 percent of people aged 18 to 65,
and 36 percent of those older than 65 have bunions, a sometimes
painful deformity of the big toe.
The new study involved almost 1,400 people enrolled in the
Framingham Foot Study. The participants averaged 66 years of age.
Each person underwent a foot exam between 2002 and 2008 to
determine if they had bunions, toe deformities such as "hammer
toes" (where a toe appears permanently bent), or a condition called
plantar soft tissue atrophy, a breakdown of the fatty "cushion"
under the ball of the foot.
The researchers also used software that performs genetic
analyses to estimate the inheritability of the participants' foot
Of the participants examined, 31 percent had bunions, 30 percent
had toe deformities and 28 percent had plantar soft tissue atrophy.
The study revealed bunions and toe deformities were highly
inheritable depending on age and gender, but not plantar soft
"These new findings highlight the importance of furthering our understanding of what causes greater susceptibility to these foot conditions, as knowing more about the pathway may ultimately lead to early prevention or early treatment," concluded Hannan, who is also the journal's editor-in-chief.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about
foot injuries and deformities.
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