My 13-year old daughter has spondylolysis. They say it’s usually caused by trauma or overuse in athletics. She hasn’t done anything like this. Could it be hereditary? Several other family members have this problem, too.

Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to develop spondylolysis. Spondylolysis is a defect in the vertebral bone. There is a gap between the main body of the vertebra and the back half.

Usually very active children or teens involved in athletics start to have symptoms. A smaller number of individuals develop problems without an activity or injury. The risk of a spondylolysis becoming a spondylolisthesis goes up in children with any other kind of defect in the bone.

Spondylolisthesis occurs when the defective vertebra slips forward over the normal bone below it.

There is one type of spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis that is more likely to be hereditary. About one-fourth of all cases (26 percent) have a family history of the same condition. First-degree relatives (parents, children, siblings) report this condition.