Study finds bunions are hereditary

It's long been known that there are genetic causes behind foot conditions like bunions or hammer toe, but Harvard Medical School researchers have provided more statistics. 

Study finds bunions are hereditary A team of scientists at Harvard Medical School, Hebrew SeniorLife and the Institute for Aging Research analyzed the foot health data of more than 2,100 individuals to determine whether foot conditions are inherited. 

They discovered that about 39 percent of women and 38 percent of men had a hallux valgus deformity, also known as a bunion. Among these individuals, about 89 pecent of those younger than 60 had inherited their bunions.

"The high heritability that we found is of great interest, especially for the younger ages [under 60 years], because effective interventions are available and, as with most public health interventions, are most effective in the early stages," said lead investigator Marian Hannan D.Sc., M.P.H.

The podiatric community generally agrees that individuals with bunions - especially those that are not advanced - should always try conservative methods of correction before turning to painful bunion surgery.

Bunion splints and orthotics are two such devices that may help prevent or correct bunions or hammer toe without the need for surgery. 

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