Researchers examine prevalence of osteoarthritis among different races

A study finds that African Americans are more likely to develop osteoarthritis in the lower extremity when compared to Caucasians. 

Researchers examine prevalence of osteoarthritis among different racesBunions and other foot conditions are strongly associated with the onset of knee, hip and back problems. In a study conducted at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, researchers discovered a racial disparity in the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis, adding support to previous reports that African Americans are disproportionately affected by foot disorders. 

The prior study, also conducted at UNC Chapel Hill, revealed that individuals of African descent are twice as likely to have bunions or hammer toe and have three times the risk of corns or flat feet when compared to rates of Caucasians.

The more recent trial showed that rates of knee osteoarthritis, which can be caused by improper landing mechanics stemming from bunions or hammer toe, are 77 percent higher in African Americans when compared to other races.

"Our findings suggest a substantial health burden of large-joint OA, particularly hip and spine, among African Americans and further studies that address this concern are warranted," said researcher Amanda Nelson, M.D.

Individuals who experience lower extremity issues as a result of bunions should consider using bunion splints or orthotics to correct their conditions without the need for bunion surgery.

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