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Prevalence of Podiatric Medical Problems in Veterans versus Nonveterans

Naohiro Shibuya Surgery, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Temple, TX; Podiatry, Central Texas VA Health Care System, Temple, TX.

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Daniel C. Jupiter Department of Systems Biology and Translational Medicine, Texas A&M Health and Science Center, Temple, TX.

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Louis J. Ciliberti Jr. Surgery/Podiatry, Scott and White Memorial Hospital System, Temple, TX.

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Vincent VanBuren Department of Systems Biology and Translational Medicine, Texas A&M Health and Science Center, Temple, TX.

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Javier La Fontaine Surgery, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Temple, TX; Podiatry, Central Texas VA Health Care System, Temple, TX.

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Background:

Lower-extremity pathologic abnormalities have been common in military recruits for many years. Many of these conditions can become chronic and persist even after retiring from military service. We hypothesized that certain foot abnormalities are more prevalent in veterans versus nonveterans. The purpose of this study was to evaluate what foot and ankle disorders are associated with veteran status while controlling for other demographic factors.

Methods:

The National Health Interview Survey (Podiatry Supplement) from 1990 was used for this secondary data analysis. The data were divided into veterans and nonveterans, and the prevalence of podiatric medical problems, including callus, flatfoot deformity, bunion deformity, hammer toe deformity, arthritis, and sprain, was evaluated for each group.

Results:

Flatfoot deformity and arthritis were significantly more prevalent in veterans versus nonveterans in the United States. Bunion deformity was significantly more prevalent in male veterans than in male nonveterans. Male veterans were less likely than male nonveterans to have sprains, and female veterans were more likely than their nonveteran counterparts to have sprains.

Conclusions:

These results may help us understand the potential risk factors for podiatric medical problems and may be used for formulating prevention programs. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(4): 323–330, 2011)

Corresponding author: Naohiro Shibuya, DPM, MS, Surgery/Podiatry, Central Texas VA Health Care System, 1901 Veterans Memorial Dr, Temple, TX 76504. (E-mail: shibuya@tamhsc.medicine.edu)