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Podiatric Health Needs of Homeless Populations as a Public Health Concern

Bright Chen California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA. Dr. Chen is now with West Houston Medical Center Podiatric Medicine & Surgery Residency Program, Houston, TX. Dr. Mitchell is now with St. Barnabas Hospital Podiatric Medicine & Surgery Residency Program, Bronx, NY.

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Analiza Mitchell California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA. Dr. Chen is now with West Houston Medical Center Podiatric Medicine & Surgery Residency Program, Houston, TX. Dr. Mitchell is now with St. Barnabas Hospital Podiatric Medicine & Surgery Residency Program, Bronx, NY.

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David Tran Department of Medicine, California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University, Oakland, CA.

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Background:

Foot and ankle health among the homeless is an important public health concern. There are limited studies done thus far on foot and ankle conditions and the podiatric medical needs of homeless populations. A literature review was undertaken to evaluate any studies published about the lower-extremity health needs among the homeless.

Methods:

We did a literature search through PubMed, the US National Library of Medicine’s database of biomedical citations and abstracts for relevant publications from 1988 through 2008. We also searched the references cited in the articles found for any studies relevant to podiatric needs for homeless populations.

Results:

We found three relevant articles that addressed the needs of podiatric care for the homeless. The articles highlighted the community health importance of foot care for homeless populations, especially in helping prevent potentially limb-threatening pathologies.

Conclusions:

The small number of studies published so far all emphasize the major public health need for podiatric care among homeless populations. More studies are needed to help address this important public health concern. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 102(1): 54–56, 2012)

Corresponding author: David Tran, DPM, MS, Department of Medicine, California School of Podiatric Medicine at Samuel Merritt University, 3100 Telegraph Ave, Ste 1000, Oakland, CA 94609. (E-mail: DTran@samuelmerritt.edu)