Heriditary Footprint

Sufferers of bunions often complain of a variety of problems because of the prominent bulge protruding from their misshapen feet: throbbing pain, trouble buying shoes, interference with sports and, of course, the aesthetic issues of having odd-looking tootsies.

Researchers now are saying quite definitively that bunion sufferers can blame Mom, Dad or some other blood relative for passing on the foot disorder. According to research out of Harvard Medical School, which involved more than 1,300 individuals participating in the Framingham Foot Study, Caucasian men and women of European descent seem most vulnerable to inheriting the foot disorder. In fact, researchers dubbed the deformity, which impacts some 23 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 65, as “highly inheritable” based on their research.

While many people complain anecdotally that they inherited “Grandma’s feet,” actually correlating the condition with genes has some treatment implications, researchers noted in a press release about their study, which was recently published Arthritis Care & Research. An awareness of heredity may help adults be more proactive about their foot health and engage in strategies to keep bunions from developing (such as wearing comfortable, supportive shoes).