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Z Orthop Ihre Grenzgeb. 2004 Jul-Aug;142(4):389-96.

[The prevalence of pain and deformities in the feet of adolescents. Results of a cross-sectional study].

[Article in German]

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Praxisklinik für Unfallchirurgie und Orthopädie, Eisenach.



The purpose of the study was to evaluate the prevalence of foot pain and foot deformities in adolescents. It was aimed to obtain information on the association between foot pain and foot deformities.


A total of 2 368 adolescents (age 14.5 +/- 0.7 years) were evaluated. The frequency of foot pain was probed by using a self-reporting questionnaire. The foot deformities were evaluated during clinical examinations by school doctors.


The prevalence of foot pain was 14.0 % and the prevalence of foot deformities was 13.7 %. The prevalence of pain was significantly higher in adolescents with foot deformity (17.8 %) than in persons without deformity (13.4 %), p < 0.05. The prevalence of a flexible flat foot was 6.2 % and the prevalence of a rigid flat foot was 0.5 %. Other deformities registered were splay foot (2.3 %) and flexible splay-flat foot (2.0). The prevalence of hallux-valgus deformity was 3.5 %. A total of 3.5 % patients were suffering from a plantar hyperkeratosis. This was significantly correlated to a high pain prevalence (the hyperkeratosis was significantly associated with a high prevalence of pain). Significant factors which were significantly associated with foot pain were foot deformity (1.4 fold) and hyperkeratosis (75 fold). Foot pain was 1.4 fold higher in children with foot deformity and 75 fold higher in feet with hyperkeratosis.


The prevalence of foot pain and foot deformity in adolescent is high. Mild deformities (flexible flat foot and splay foot) are physiological variations without any association to foot pain. Pathological conditions that are associated with foot pain are the rigid flat foot, the hallux valgus and the cavus deformity. Plantar hyperkeratosis is an indicator of foot pathology.

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