Common foot disorders such as flat feet, corns and bunions are more prevalent among African Americans than in whites, according to a new study by University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill researchers.
“African Americans in the study age 45 or older were three times more likely than whites of the same age to have corns or flat feet. In people who were not obese, African Americans were twice as likely to have bunions and hammer toes than whites,” Yvonne M. Golightly, PT, PhD, lead author of the study, titled “Racial Differences in Foot Disorders: The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project,” and a post-doctoral fellow at UNC’s Thurston Arthritis Research Center, stated in a press release.
There were no significant differences by race for bunions or hammer toes among obese participants.
“That suggests there is a real racial difference there, that it’s not something where obesity is also playing a role,” Golightly stated.
Tailor’s bunions and high arches were nearly five times more common among whites than African Americans.
In the study, 1,536 participants were clinically evaluated for foot disorders from 2006 to 2010. Golightly and study co-authors identified the most common foot disorders and used statistical analysis to compare each foot problem by race, controlling for age, body mass index (BMI) and gender.
“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 stated. “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.”