THURSDAY, March 3, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Bunions, a common but painful deformity of the foot, are more likely to develop in older people and women, a new study has found.
And the more severe the bunion, the more likely the person is to have pain in other parts of the body, leading to declines in both general and foot-specific health-related quality of life, researchers say.
A bunion is a bump that develops on the side of the big toe as it leans toward the second toe, instead of pointing straight ahead.
For this study, associate professor Hylton Menz, of La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues at the Arthritis Research U.K. Primary Care Centre at Keele University, England, examined data from 2,831 people, aged 56 and older, who were taking part in an osteoarthritis research project in the United Kingdom.
The study findings are published in the March issue of the journal Arthritis Care & Research.
Just over one-third of the participants had some degree of bunion, with a greater prevalence among women and older people. In addition to causing pain and physical impairment, bunions affected general health, vitality, social function and mental health, according to the researchers.
This means that bunion treatments offer patients benefits other than simply relieving pain at the site of the bunion, they explained in a news release from the journal's publisher.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons has more about bunions.