Bunions Impact General Quality of Life

Hallux valgus has broader detrimental effects beyond pain

THURSDAY, March 17 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing severity of hallux valgus is associated with a progressive decrease in general and foot-specific health-related quality of life, according to a study published in the March issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Hylton B. Menz, Ph.D., of Keele University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated the prevalence of hallux valgus, and the relationship between its severity and health-related quality of life. A total of 2,831 participants in the North Staffordshire Osteoarthritis Project, aged 56 years and older, were surveyed using the Short Form-36 (SF-36) and the Manchester Foot Pain and Disability Index (FPDI). Self-reported hallux valgus severity was measured with a validated tool.

The researchers found that hallux valgus was prevalent in 36.3 percent of the participants, and it was correlated with female gender, older age, and pain in other areas of the body. With increasing severity of hallux valgus, there was a progressive reduction in all SF-36 component scores, independent of age, gender, education, and body mass index. This association strength was weakened after adjusting for pain in the back, hip, knee, and foot. The severity of hallux valgus remained significantly associated with decreased physical function, bodily pain, general health, social function, and mental health subscale scores. In people with foot pain, there was a significant link between hallux valgus severity and greater impairment on the FPDI pain and function subscales.

"Hallux valgus is a significant and disabling musculoskeletal condition," the authors write. "Interventions to correct or slow the progression of the deformity may have beneficial effects beyond that of localized pain."

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