Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bunions are in the genes

According a national survey by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons more than half of American women sufferbunions (lateral deviation of the hallux ≥ 20 degrees). They report nine out of 10 bunion cases affect women. The common sexist misconception to prevail has been bunions were caused by constrictive footwear and hence more prone to affect females. The Framingham Foot study is a new study into Hallux Abducto-Valgus (that’s bunions to lay peeps), has found genes more than shoes are likely to be the cause of the most common foot deformity. This is the first study to examine heretibility of foot disorders in white men and women of European descent, and 1,370 subjects were involved. Both men and women took part (mean age of 66 years and 57% were female) and the frequency of foot problems, including bunions as well as hammer and claw toes was recorded. Using estimated heritability software to perform genetic analyses of familial data (pedigree structures) they were able to estimate association. Hallux abducto-valgus and lesser toe deformity were found to be highly heritable depending on age and sex. The researchers suggested certain foot shapes, as determined by genetics, were predisposed to developing bunions. Previous studies have shown up to 60% of older adults have foot disorders which may limit mobility and reduce their quality of life. Despite its prevalence and sequestra there is little understanding of the genetics involved in the development of hallux abducto-valgus .The role of ill fitting footwear may exacerbate shear and friction across the skin surface and hence increase heat damaging the skin cell reproction resulting bursae formation and or callus and corns. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommend people with prominent bumnions should wear good fitting shoes and avoid seems. Protective pads may also be used to help cushion the painful area. When persistent pain and difficulty walking follow it may be appropriate to undergo surgery. Bunion surgery realigns bone, ligaments, tendons, and nerves, bringing the big toe back to its normal position. Following bunion surgery, a long recovery is common and may include persistent swelling and stiffness.

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