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OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence and severity of foot pain and deformity and the associated risk of leg and low back pain.
METHOD: A cross-sectional postal survey was conducted among a randomly selected sample of 2100 adult Danish inhabitants (18-80 years of age). Participants reported 1-month period prevalences of foot, lower leg, knee, hip and back pain.
RESULTS: Responder rate was 79.6%. Prevalence of foot pain was 30.4% with a total of 55.9% reporting pain in the foot, leg or back lasting more than 1 day within the previous month. Foot pain lasting more than 1 month was experienced by 16.2% and 11.9% had pain lasting more than 1 year. The prevalence of self-reported pes planus or pes cavus was 17.9%. There was a significant association between foot pain and pain elsewhere in the leg and low back. Self-reported foot deformity was significantly associated with foot pain. Women had a significantly higher prevalence of foot pain and Body Mass Index was associated with foot pain in women but not in men.
CONCLUSIONS: Foot pain is highly prevalent and associated with foot deformity and leg and low back pain. More attention should be focused on foot pain and foot deformity. It is suggested that clinical examination of leg and low back pain should include foot examination.
Hallux valgus (HV) is a foot deformity commonly seen in medical practice, often accompanied by significant functional disability and foot pain. Despite frequent mention in a diverse body of literature, a precise estimate of the prevalence of HV is difficult to ascertain. The purpose of this systematic review was to investigate prevalence of HV in the overall population and evaluate the influence of age and gender.
Electronic databases (Medline, Embase, and CINAHL) and reference lists of included papers were searched to June 2009 for papers on HV prevalence without language restriction. MeSH terms and keywords were used relating to HV or bunions, prevalence and various synonyms. Included studies were surveys reporting original data for prevalence of HV or bunions in healthy populations of any age group. Surveys reporting prevalence data grouped with other foot deformities and in specific disease groups (eg. rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes) were excluded. Two independent investigators quality rated all included papers on the Epidemiological Appraisal Instrument. Data on raw prevalence, population studied and methodology were extracted. Prevalence proportions and the standard error were calculated, and meta-analysis was performed using a random effects model.
A total of 78 papers reporting results of 76 surveys (total 496,957 participants) were included and grouped by study population for meta-analysis. Pooled prevalence estimates for HV were 23% in adults aged 18-65 years (CI: 16.3 to 29.6) and 35.7% in elderly people aged over 65 years (CI: 29.5 to 42.0). Prevalence increased with age and was higher in females [30% (CI: 22 to 38)] compared to males [13% (CI: 9 to 17)]. Potential sources of bias were sampling method, study quality and method of HV diagnosis.
Notwithstanding the wide variation in estimates, it is evident that HV is prevalent; more so in females and with increasing age. Methodological quality issues need to be addressed in interpreting reports in the literature and in future research.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of population-based epidemiological studies was undertaken to determine the prevalence of foot and ankle pain in middle and old age. Searches were conducted in the following electronic databases from inception to October 2010: PubMed, EMBASE, AMED, CINAHL, Cochrane, PEDro, and SportDiscus. Full-text English language articles were included if they used population sample frames, cross-sectional design or analysis, and reported prevalence estimates for foot and/or ankle pain in adults aged 45years and over. Thirty-four articles from 31 studies involving 75,505 participants provided 529 prevalence estimates based on different case definitions and population strata. Random-effects meta-analyses of studies with comparable case definitions provided pooled prevalence estimates, for frequent foot pain of 24% (95% confidence interval 22-25%; n=3; I(2)=46%) and for frequent ankle pain of 15% (95% confidence interval 13-16%; n=2; I(2)=0). Small sample sizes and low response rates in some studies, together with heterogeneous case definitions, limit confident conclusions on the distribution, subtypes, and impact of foot/ankle pain. Narrative synthesis of evidence from existing studies suggested preponderance in females, an age-related increase in prevalence in women but not men, that the toes/forefoot were the most common anatomical sites of pain, and that moderate disability in an aspect of daily life was reported by two-thirds of cases. This review provides estimates of the community burden of foot and ankle pain in middle and old age. By outlining the scale of this clinical problem, these findings can be used to inform health care planning and provision.