Are Foot Problems Hereditary?

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Recent podiatric research concludes that heredity will often play a significant role in foot shape and confirms that foot deformities, like bunions, are “highly heritable.” Published in 2013, the study’s lead investigator, Dr. Marian Hannan, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said the study was notable because it was “the first time the link between foot problems and genetics had been examined.”


“Genetic background and family history can certainly help physicians look out for symptoms, diagnose problems and intervene with treatments, as soon as possible,” said Dr. Sherman Nagler of the Nagler Foot Center. “I’m pleased to see we have begun to formalize genetics research relating to podiatry. This study’s results also highlight the importance of early intervention. As I’ve experienced firsthand with my own patients, early-stage treatments lead better outcomes.”

While genetics may suggest a person is predisposed to structural foot problems, like bunions or hammertoe, don’t put the high heels back on too quickly. Read Dr. Nagler’s Tips for Healthy Feet (link to blog) and choose your footwear wisely. Your feet will need to last a lifetime!

Dr. Sherman Nagler, Houston’s Foot Doc, can be reached for questions at the Nagler Foot Center by calling 713-893-5620, by email or visit to schedule an appointment to meet with a podiatrist who can examine your feet and then more specifically address any questions in person.