Study reveals burden and impact of bunions

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Posted on 28 February 2011

Bunions have a major impact on people's quality of life and are particularly common in women and older people, a new study in the journal Arthritis Care & Research shows.

The condition, known as 'hallux valgus', occurs when a bony swelling occurs in the joint at the base of the big toe.

Although the causes are not fully understood, people with certain conditions - including rheumatoid arthritis and gout - are known to be at increased risk.

Researchers at the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University, along with colleagues at La Trobe University in Australia, studied data on 2,831 people, all of whom were 56 years of age or older.

Analysis revealed that 36 per cent of participants had bunions, with women and older participants tending to be at greater risk than men and younger people.

Individuals with bunions tended to have greater pain and physical impairment and poorer quality of life than those without the condition.

Associate professor Hylton Menz, from La Trobe University in Melbourne, revealed: "Our findings indicate that hallux valgus is a significant and disabling musculoskeletal condition that affects overall quality of life.

"Interventions to correct or slow the progression of the deformity offer patients beneficial outcomes beyond merely localised pain relief."