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Knowledge, Beliefs, and Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by Australian Podiatric Physicians

Jenny M. Wilkinson BSc(Hons), PhD, GradDipFET1 and Paul Tinley BAppSci(Pod), PhD2
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  • 1 School of Biomedical Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia.
  • | 2 School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University, Albury, Australia.
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Background: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is one of the fastest growing areas of health care. This has necessitated an increased awareness and understanding of CAM by conventional health professionals.

Methods: A questionnaire seeking information about use of and attitudes toward CAM was mailed to 1,365 Australian podiatric physicians.

Results: Ninety-one percent of Australian podiatric physicians surveyed have used at least one CAM therapy in the past 12 months, and 93% have treated patients with CAM or have recommended its use to patients. Overall, the respondents rated their knowledge of various CAM therapies as “average,” and responses on the CAM Health Belief Questionnaire indicated that respondents tended not to endorse CAM health beliefs, with statements about CAM therapies being seen as “a threat to public safety” and effects being “usually due to the placebo effect” producing the strongest responses.

Conclusions: Complementary and alternative medicine therapies are already being used in podiatric medical practice, and there are significant opportunities for further research into CAM education and clinical research relevant to podiatric medicine. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(2): 121–128, 2009)

Corresponding author: Jenny M. Wilkinson, BSc(Hons), PhD, GradDipFET, School of Biomedical Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Locked Bag 588, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia 2678. (E-mail: jwilkinson@csu.edu.au)