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Some Foot Troubles Hit Blacks, Whites More Often

Last Updated: November 12, 2010.

Corns, flat fleet affect more black Americans, while Tailor's bunions more likely in whites, research finds.

FRIDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Black Americans are more likely than whites to have common foot disorders such as flat feet and corns, new research shows.

In the study, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill examined the feet of 1,536 volunteers and found that blacks aged 45 and older were three times more likely than whites of the same age to have corns or flat feet.

Among people who were not obese, blacks were twice as likely to have bunions and hammer toes. However, no significant differences by race were found for these two conditions among obese people.

"That suggests there is a real racial difference there, that it's not something where obesity is also playing a role," lead author Yvonne M. Golightly, a postdoctoral fellow at UNC's Thurston Arthritis Research Center, said in a university news release.

The study also found that Tailor's bunions (inflammation at the base of the little toe) was nearly five times more common in whites than blacks.

The study was presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in Atlanta.

"These foot disorders are very common among people age 45 and older, and can lead to more serious problems such as falls, decreased physical activity and decreased quality of life," Golightly said.

"The next step in our research is to determine the origin of these disorders. We're interested in looking at the influence of factors such as genetics, shoe wear, multi-joint osteoarthritis, and what type of work a person does," she added.

More information

The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society has more about foot problems.

SOURCE: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, news release, Nov. 8, 2010

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