Association of foot and ankle characteristics with progression of venous disease

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Although risk factors have been identified for the cross-sectional prevalence of venous disease, few studies have investigated risk factors for venous disease progression. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between foot and ankle characteristics and the progression of venous disease. A total of 1025 participants from the San Diego Population Study were assessed at baseline and at follow-up 11 years later. Risk factors were assessed by questionnaire and physical measurements, while venous disease was determined by physical examination and Duplex ultrasound. Change in venous disease from baseline to 11-year follow-up was characterized as stable or progression. Those with venous disease progression were less likely to spend increased time lying per day, more likely to have a history of hypertension, lie supine for a surgical procedure greater than an hour, and report an occupation that was professional, technical, administrative, or management. Those with a normal arch reported the greatest degree of plantar flexion. In multivariable logistic regression, including adjustment for weight-bearing arch characteristics, greater dorsiflexion (per 5 degrees) was significantly associated with progression of venous disease (OR = 1.11, p = 0.01). A weight-bearing flat arch compared to a weight-bearing normal arch was of borderline significance as a protective factor against progression of venous disease with adjustment for dorsiflexion (OR = 0.56, p = 0.07). Our results indicate that the ability to have higher levels of dorsiflexion is a risk factor for the progression of venous disease, and suggest a role for connective tissue laxity in the pathogenesis of venous disease.

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