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The Need for Randomized Controlled Trials in Podiatric Medical Research

Jill Porthouse York Trials Unit, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, England.

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David J. Torgerson York Trials Unit, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York, England.

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The randomized controlled trial is the most robust method available to evaluate health-care treatments. If podiatric medical practice is to be based on rigorous evidence, then high-quality randomized controlled trials are needed to inform that practice. In this article, we examine the extent to which randomized controlled trials are used in recent podiatric medical research and appraise the quality of those that are available. Using the Cochrane database of all randomized controlled trials in health care, we found only six relevant trials undertaken in podiatric medicine since 1997. These studies were of variable quality. We also discuss the key features of a rigorous trial design. To date, the clinical practice of podiatric medicine is not adequately informed by the best available evidence. We call for more high-quality randomized controlled trials to be undertaken in podiatric medical research. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(3): 221–228, 2004)

Corresponding author: Jill Porthouse, MSc, York Trials Unit, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, York YO10 5DD, England.