Home > Medical > Foot health > News 20 May 2013 Blame your parents for bunion woes Common foot deformities such as bunions and hammer toes are inherited, a new foot study says. 0 iStock Related New treatment for painful flat feet Pregnancy permanently changes foot size Flip flops may damage feet Ask Podiatrist » Quiz Foot problems? » Join Body Talk » Follow Health24 on Pinterest » Keep your feet happy in winter The horror of high heels A novel study reports that white men and women of European descent inherit common foot disorders, such as bunions (hallux valgus) and lesser toe deformities, including hammer or claw toe. Findings from the Framingham Foot Study the first to estimate the heritability of foot disorders in humans appear in Arthritis Care & Research, a journal published by Wiley on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR). Foot disorders limit mobility Previous studies show that as many as 60% of older adults have foot disorders which may limit mobility and reduce their quality of life. In fact, bunions affect 23% of individuals 18 to 65 years of age and 36% of those over 65 years according to a study by Nix et al. While experts suggest that women, older adults and those with a higher body mass index (BMI) are at greater risk for foot disorders, there is little understanding of the genetics involved in their development. The study, led by Arthritis Care & Research Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Marian Hannan from Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass, included 1,370 participants enrolled in the Framingham Foot Study. Participants had a mean age of 66 years and 57% were female. Foot exams to identify hallux valgus, lesser toe deformities and plantar soft tissue atrophy were conducted between 2002 and 2008. The team estimated heritability using software that performs genetic analyses of familial data (pedigree structures). Results show the prevalence of bunions, lesser toe deformities and plantar soft tissue atrophy was 31%, 30% and 28%, respectively. Hallux valgus and lesser toe deformity, two of the most common structural foot disorders that affect up to half of older adults in the U.S. and Europe, were found to be highly heritable depending on age and sex. Largest investigation of common foot disordersThe team reports that plantar soft tissue atrophy did not demonstrate significant heritability in the study cohort. "Our study is the largest investigation of the heritability of common foot disorders in older adults, confirming that bunions and lesser toe deformities are highly inheritable in Caucasian men and women of European descent," concludes Dr. Hannan. "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." EurekAlert More in Medical Oxygen treatment may not help foot ulcers More: Foot healthNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical Why is my penis skew? Medical Chimpanzee victim's immune system rejects face transplant Medical Statins before heart surgery may be ineffective Lifestyle New tobacco laws and crackdown on e-cigarettes in EU Fitness Seniors who pump iron have longer lives Medical Many heart bypass patients skip crucial medication From our sponsors Top tips for beating PMS now Win a spa voucher worth R1000! Don't let PMS get you down Four tips for healthy winter hair Live healthier Not loosing the weight? » Your quick guide to Banting Banting for health? Banting vs Heart Foundation Diet – which is cheaper? 8 non-food reasons why your Banting weight loss has stalled You're religiously sticking to your low-carb programme, but the scales aren’t moving. An extract from The Banting Solution looks at reasons why this could happen. The struggle is real » 5 things to know before taking an antihistamine How to cope with seasonal allergies 15 tips for students with allergies For university students, moving out of home can be daunting at the best of times but for those with severe allergies or asthma, it may feel close to impossible.