A survey of podiatric medical students in Australia was undertaken prior to and following the completion of a compulsory geriatrics course to evaluate the effect of geriatrics education on knowledge of aging, attitudes toward older people, perceptions of treatment efficacy, and desire to specialize in geriatrics. Students had a reasonable knowledge of aging and favorable attitudes toward older people prior to undertaking the course, but few wanted to specialize in geriatrics. General knowledge of aging and attitudes toward older people improved after completion of the course, but career aspirations remained unchanged. Students generally considered geriatrics to be a low-profile specialty, and less than half stated that they would be interested in pursuing continuing education in geriatrics. These results provide further evidence that students’ lack of desire to specialize in geriatrics may be primarily due to limited recognition within the profession, rather than unfavorable attitudes toward older people or lack of interest in geriatrics during their undergraduate education. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 93(2): 124-130, 2003)
Background: In Australia, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs provides podiatric medical services, including nail surgery and the provision of footwear and orthoses, for war veterans and their dependents. We sought to evaluate whether the provision of these interventions reduces the number of ongoing maintenance treatments.
Methods: We used the database of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to document the number of major podiatric medical interventions (footwear, foot orthoses, nail surgery, and combinations of these interventions) for 1996–1997. The number of maintenance podiatric medical treatments provided in the 2 years before (1994–1996) and 2 years after (1997–1999) these interventions was then compared with a control group that did not receive any major interventions.
Results: Compared with the number of treatments in the 2 years before the interventions, in the subsequent 2 years there was a significant increase in the mean ± SD number of maintenance treatments after receiving footwear only (10.4 ± 5.8 versus 12.3 ± 5.0), foot orthoses only (9.4 ± 5.3 versus 12.2 ± 4.6), nail surgery only (10.2 ± 5.8 versus 13.2 ± 4.4), and footwear plus foot orthoses (9.3 ± 6.1 versus 13.3 ± 5.5). In the control group, the mean number of treatments in 1994–1996 and 1997–1999 was 10.8 and 11.8, respectively.
Conclusions: Provision of major podiatric medical interventions did not reduce the number of ongoing maintenance treatments received by veterans. However, owing to the inherent limitations of claims data, it is difficult to determine whether this finding is due to the limited efficacy of the interventions or to the policy structure of podiatric medical service provision in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(6): 469–474, 2007)
Background: Falls in older people are a major public health problem, and there is increasing evidence that foot problems and inappropriate footwear increase the risk of falls. Several multidisciplinary prevention clinics have been established to address the problem of falls; however, the role of podiatry in these clinics has not been clearly defined. The aims of this study were to determine the level of podiatric involvement in multidisciplinary falls clinics in Australia and to describe the assessments undertaken and interventions provided by podiatrists in these settings.
Methods: A database of falls clinics was developed through consultation with departments of health in each state and territory. Clinic managers were contacted and surveyed as to whether the clinic incorporated podiatry services. If so, the podiatrists were contacted and asked to complete a brief questionnaire regarding their level of involvement and the assessment procedures and interventions offered.
Results: Of the 36 clinics contacted, 25 completed the survey. Only four of these clinics reported direct podiatric involvement. Despite the limited involvement of podiatry in these clinics, all of the clinic managers stated that they considered podiatry to have an important role to play in falls prevention. Podiatry service provision in falls clinics varied considerably in relation to eligibility criteria, assessments undertaken, and interventions provided.
Conclusions: Despite the recognition that foot problems and inappropriate footwear are risk factors for falls, podiatry currently has a relatively minor and poorly defined role in multidisciplinary falls-prevention clinics in Australia. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(5): 377–384, 2007)
The aim of this study was to evaluate the relative contribution of structural foot characteristics and comorbidities to the presence of disabling foot pain in older people. One hundred seventy-two people (55 men and 117 women) aged 62 to 96 years (mean ± SD, 80.1 ± 6.4 years) who lived in a retirement village underwent tests of foot posture, range of motion, and deformity in addition to completing a medical history questionnaire. Disabling foot pain was determined using the Manchester Foot Pain and Disability Index. Thirty-eight subjects (22%) reported disabling foot pain. Subjects with disabling foot pain had a higher body mass index and were more likely to be female; to report osteoarthritis in the spine, hips, hands or wrists, and feet; and to report pain in the back, hips, and hands or wrists. The only significant difference between the groups regarding structural foot characteristics was that those with disabling foot pain exhibited more severe hallux valgus deformity. The strongest determinants of disabling foot pain revealed by a discriminant function analysis were foot osteoarthritis, pain in the hips, and pain in the hands or wrists. These findings indicate that disabling foot pain in older people is more closely related to pain and osteoarthritis in other body regions than to structural characteristics of the foot, and they suggest that more severe forms of foot pain in older people may be a component of a general chronic pain syndrome or a polyarticular form of osteoarthritis. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 95(6): 573–579, 2005)
Podiatric medical students in Australia were surveyed to evaluate their reasons for entering podiatric medicine, knowledge of aging, attitudes toward older people, perceptions of treatment efficacy, and desire to specialize in geriatrics. Few students plan to specialize in geriatrics upon graduation (4%), with most preferring general practice (25%) or sports medicine (21%). However, knowledge of aging was good, and students had favorable attitudes toward older people and considered treatment of older people to be effective. Few age- or gender-related effects were observed. It is concluded that students’ lack of desire to specialize in geriatrics may be due not to unfavorable perceptions of older people but rather to the low profile and limited development of geriatrics as a specialty area within the podiatric medical profession. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 93(1): 11-17, 2003)
Osteoarthritis of the knee is a common condition that can cause considerable pain and disability. Various forms of lateral wedging may be effective in the treatment of medial compartment osteoarthritis, but it is not known whether incorporating a lateral wedge into a custom-molded foot orthosis will achieve similar results. Therefore, 30 subjects (21 men and 9 women) aged 29 to 77 years (mean ± SD, 58.1 ± 11.6 years) with radiographically confirmed medial compartment knee osteoarthritis were issued custom-molded foot orthoses with a 5° lateral heel wedge. Pain levels were recorded using a 100-mm visual analog pain scale on the date of issue of the orthoses (baseline) and again 3 and 6 weeks later. Mean ± SD pain levels were significantly reduced at 3 weeks (34 ± 22 mm) and 6 weeks (23 ± 22 mm) versus baseline (69 ± 19 mm) (F2 = 39.57). The degree of pain reduction was greater in patients with less severe osteoarthritis. At 6 weeks, all subjects had achieved at least some reduction in pain, and 28 reported that their orthoses were comfortable. This preliminary study indicates that laterally wedged foot orthoses may be beneficial in the treatment of mild-to-moderate osteoarthritis of the medial compartment of the knee. Further investigations using a larger sample, longer follow-up, and a no-treatment control group seem warranted. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 95(4): 347–352, 2005)
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).
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.
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.
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.
Background: Chronic plantar heel pain (CPHP) is common and is thought to have a detrimental impact on health-related quality of life. However, no study has used normative data or a control data set for comparison of scores. Therefore, we describe the impact of CPHP on foot-specific and general health-related quality of life by comparing CPHP subjects with controls.
Methods: Foot Health Status Questionnaire scores were compared in 80 subjects with CPHP and 80 sex- and age-matched controls without CPHP.
Results: The CPHP group demonstrated significantly poorer foot-specific quality of life, as evidenced by lower scores on the foot pain, foot function, footwear, and general foot health domains of the Foot Health Status Questionnaire. The group also demonstrated significantly poorer general health-related quality of life, with lower scores on the physical activity, social capacity, and vigor domains. In multivariate analysis, CPHP remained significantly and independently associated with Foot Health Status Questionnaire scores after adjustment for differences in body mass index. Age, sex, body mass index, and whether symptoms were unilateral or bilateral had no association with the degree of impairment in people with CPHP.
Conclusion: Chronic plantar heel pain has a significant negative impact on foot-specific and general health-related quality of life. The degree of negative impact does not seem to be associated with age, sex, or body mass index. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 98(4): 283–289, 2008)
Lower-extremity problems are common in older people; however, the reliability of clinical tools used to assess foot and ankle characteristics has not been rigorously evaluated. This study evaluated the test–retest reliability of a battery of simple clinical tests of foot and ankle characteristics (tactile sensitivity of the first metatarsophalangeal joint, navicular height, foot length and width, hallux valgus severity, an overall foot problem score, ankle flexibility, ankle dorsiflexion strength, and foot pain) in 31 individuals (13 men and 18 women) aged 76 to 87 years recruited from the community. Three examiners performed the tests on two occasions approximately 2 weeks apart. Intraclass correlation coefficients and coefficients of variation were calculated for continuously scored tests, and the kappa statistic (κ) was used to determine the reliability of hallux valgus severity grading. All of the continuously scored tests had acceptable reliability (intraclass correlation coefficients of 0.64 to 0.98; coefficients of variation of 0.6% to 15.0%), as did hallux valgus severity grading (κ = 0.77; absolute percentage agreement, 84%). These simple clinical tests can now be used with confidence in clinical and research settings to provide reliable and functionally important information regarding foot and ankle characteristics in older people. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 93(5): 380-387, 2003)