Bunions, by nature or nurture?

A study hot off the press, investigating hallux valgus (bunions) in twins, reports that whilst bunions are considered to have a genetic component,  and twin pairs are more likely to have bunions than unrelated individuals, there was no difference in the presence of bunions between monozygotic (identical) or dizygotic (non-identical) twins. This raises the possibility that environmental risk factors shared by twins contribute to the development of bunions, not their genes. This means that even if you are predisposed to bunions, it is probably factors such as your footwear selection that matters the most.

 

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Given that footwear choices are modifiable, identification of the most appropriate footwear during the life course may be able to reduce the prevalence of bunions. There are mechanical risks for bunions and certainly foot orthoses can reduce the pain associated with bunions, but getting hold of some good shoes is a must.