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Methodological Quality of Randomized Trials Published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, 1999–2013

Karl B. Landorf Lower Extremity and Gait Studies Research Program, College of Science, Health, and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.
Discipline of Podiatry, College of Science, Health, and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.

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Hylton B. Menz Lower Extremity and Gait Studies Research Program, College of Science, Health, and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.
Discipline of Podiatry, College of Science, Health, and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.

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David G. Armstrong Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

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Robert D. Herbert Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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Background

Randomized trials must be of high methodological quality to yield credible, actionable findings. The main aim of this project was to evaluate whether there has been an improvement in the methodological quality of randomized trials published in the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association (JAPMA).

Methods

Randomized trials published in JAPMA during a 15-year period (January 1999 to December 2013) were evaluated. The methodological quality of randomized trials was evaluated using the PEDro scale (scores range from 0 to 10, with 0 being lowest quality). Linear regression was used to assess changes in methodological quality over time.

Results

A total of 1,143 articles were published in JAPMA between January 1999 and December 2013. Of these, 44 articles were reports of randomized trials. Although the number of randomized trials published each year increased, there was only minimal improvement in their methodological quality (mean rate of improvement = 0.01 points per year). The methodological quality of the trials studied was typically moderate, with a mean ± SD PEDro score of 5.1 ± 1.5. Although there were a few high-quality randomized trials published in the journal, most (84.1%) scored between 3 and 6.

Conclusions

Although there has been an increase in the number of randomized trials published in JAPMA, there is substantial opportunity for improvement in the methodological quality of trials published in the journal. Researchers seeking to publish reports of randomized trials should seek to meet current best-practice standards in the conduct and reporting of their trials.

Corresponding author: Karl B. Landorf, PhD, Discipline of Podiatry, College of Science, Health, and Engineering, La Trobe University, Bundoora, VIC 3086, Australia. (E-mail: k.landorf@latrobe.edu.au)