Should you blame your parents for your bunions?

Bunions are a very common complaint in patients seen at Dr. Anthony Weinert’s office.  If you have them, you know about them- these boney protrusions typically begin at the base of the big toe joint and are often painful and unsightly.  Over time they get worse, as the friction from the awkward shape causes inflammation and discomfort; additionally, as the bump grows, the bunion can cause toes to move out of place, resulting in other conditions like hammertoes.

Recently a team from Harvard Medical School completed the Framingham Foot Study, a 6 year study looking at the genetic probability of bunion inheritance.  The results showed an overwhelming occurrence of inheritance in the 1370 participants.  This begs the question:  are your parents to blame for your bunions?

The answer is: maybe.  First, do your parents have bunions?  If so, then the likelihood of you developing bunions at some point in your life is far greater than if they didn’t have bunions.  However, what if your parents DON’T have bunions?  Where does that leave you in getting to the root of why you’re afflicted with this unsightly, uncomfortable condition?

Bunions can be caused by several things other than heredity. First suspect, shoes.  Shoes with a narrow toebox are notorious culprits hallux valgus bunion feetbehind the origins of a non-hereditary bunion.  If you’re an individual who wears high heels or cowboy boots on a regular basis, you need to be aware that the slope and pushing in of your toes is a recipe for bunions at some point in life.  A perfect example of someone who was bound to get bunions isVictoria Beckham; in 2009 she announced to the world that the shooting pain she was suffering through was making her consider bunion surgery.  Bunion surgery recovery is long and painful, and it appears Mrs. Beckham has not yet gone through with it; pictures of her feet in sandals show just how badly she needs it, though.  Mrs. Beckham’s years of wearing towering heels have left her with bunions so severe that she desperately needs surgery to correct them.

Bunions can also be caused by trauma or injury to the joints, ligaments, or bones of the foot.  Some individuals have reported getting bunions after an on-the-job injury or a running-related injury.  These cases are fewer, but often involve complications like arthritis in the joints.

Lead researcher, Dr Marian Hannan said it was the first time the link between foot problems and genetics had been examined.The results of the Framingham Foot Study, which took into account data collected between 2002 and 2008, were published in the most recent edition of the journal Arthritis Care and Research. Lead researcher, Dr Marian Hannan said it was the first time the link between foot problems and genetics had been examined.

With proper footwear, you might be able to avoid bunions- be especially mindful of your footwear choices if you have a family history of bunions. If you’re already suffering from painful, unsightly bunions, come see Dr. Anthony Weinert for a consultation. You may reach our Troy office at (248) 362–3338 or our Warren office at (586) 751-3338 or you may request an appointment online on our website.  You can also request a FREE copy of his book online.


One response to “Should you blame your parents for your bunions?

  1. Pingback: Yoga Toes | 31 day challenge: july 2013·

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