Foot disorders, such as hallux valgus and pes cavus, are common among adults-affecting 20-60 percent of adults-and are linked to mobility limitations. According to research presented at the 2010 American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Annual Scientific Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, foot disorders such as these might be hereditary.
In a study funded in part by the ACR Research and Education Foundation, researchers recently looked at the link between hallux valgus (HV), pes cavus (PC), and heredity as a part of the 2006 Framingham Foot Study-a study that examined common foot disorders and the functional limitations they cause in 2,179 participants from 2002 through 2005-to evaluate whether these common foot conditions are inherited.
The average age of the cohort was 66 years, and 57 percent were female. The prevalence of HV was 31 percent. The overall HV heritability was 39 percent for women and 38 percent for men. For persons under the age of 60 years, HV heritability was 89 percent. The PC heritability was 68 percent for women and 20 percent for men. For persons under the age of 60 years, the PC heritability was 99 percent for women and 63 percent for men. Thus, hallux valgus and pes cavus are highly heritable, especially for younger adults.
“The high heritability that we found is of great interest, especially for the younger ages [under 60 years], because effective interventions are available and, as with most public health interventions, are most effective in the early stages,” Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and lead investigator in the study, Marian T. Hannan, DSc, MPH, was quoted as saying in an ACR press release.
The hallux valgus papers from the ACR conference notes that genome-wide association analyses are planned to identify potential genetic determinants for these common foot disorders.
Editor’s note: This story has been adapted from materials provided by the hallux valgus papers from the ACR conference.