Study Suggests Bunions Occur Due to Genetics, Not Always Due to Footwear

bunions10.jpgIt is often believed that bunions and other various foot ailments occur because of ill fitting or unsupportive shoes such as high heels. However, information gathered by the Framingham Foot Study, led by Dr. Marian Hannan, suggests that certain foot problems are more likely to occur due to genetics in Caucasian men and in women of European descent. The study included 1,370 participants with an average age of 66 years and nearly 57% females involved. From 2002 and 2008, foot exams were conducted to verify foot deformities, hallux valgus, plantar soft tissue atrophy, and genetic analyses were estimated. The results concluded that bunions and other toe deformities were found to be highly hereditary while plantar soft tissue atrophy did not produce significant numbers. “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,” stated Dr. Hannan.

If you are suffering from bunion pain, consider treatment as soon as possible to avoid extended discomfort. For more information about bunion treatments, consult with one of our podiatrists of The Foot and Ankle Associates of North Carolina, PLLC. Our doctors will attend to all of your foot and ankle needs.

What is a Bunion?

A bunion is an enlargement of the base joint of the toe that connects to the foot. The enlargement is formed of swollen tissue or boney growth. This swelling is caused by a shifting of the bones in the big toe inward, impacting the other toes of the foot. The area around the base of the big toe may become inflamed, red, and/or painful.


Genetics – people who are susceptible to bunions are often genetically predisposed.

Stress on the feet – wearing improperly fitting shoes or running and walking with improper form may cause stress on the feet. Wearing high heeled shoes puts the weight from the body onto the toes, causing further stress and bone displacement.


A podiatrist who specializes in foot structure and bio-mechanics will be able to diagnose bunions.

Blood Tests - testing the blood for gout or arthritic conditions can help identify the causes.

Radiological Exam – a podiatrist will request an exam to identify the bunion by taking a look at the bone structure. If the x-ray shows an enlargement of the joint near the base of the toe, this usually indicates a bunion.

For more information about Bunions, follow the link below.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Ahoskie, Rocky Mount, Raleigh, NC. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.

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