Morton's neuroma is a common condition that routinely presents in podiatric practice. The aim of this study was to systematically synthesize the evidence relating to the effectiveness of a corticosteroid injection for Morton's neuroma.
Studies with a publication date of 1960 or later were eligible, and searches were performed within the Turning Research Into Practice database; the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials; the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group Specialised Register; MEDLINE (Ovid); PubMed; Embase; Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature; and the gray literature. Study selection criteria included randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials where a single corticosteroid injection for Morton's neuroma pain was investigated. The primary outcome was Morton's neuroma pain as measured by any standard validated pain scale.
Ten studies involving 695 participants were included. The quality of the studies was considered low and subject to bias. Of the included studies, five compared corticosteroid injection to usual care, one compared corticosteroid injection to local anesthetic alone, one compared ultrasound-guided to non–ultrasound-guided injections, three compared corticosteroid injections to surgery, one compared small to large neuromas, six assessed patient satisfaction, four measured adverse events, one studied return to work, and one examined failure of the corticosteroid injection to improve pain. Overall, these studies identified a moderate short- to medium-term benefit of corticosteroid injections on the primary outcome of pain and a low adverse event rate.
A single corticosteroid injection appears to have a beneficial short- to medium-term effect on Morton's neuroma pain. It appears superior to usual care, but its superiority to local anaesthetic alone is questionable, and it is inferior to surgical excision. A very low adverse event rate was noted throughout the studies, indicating the intervention is safe when used for Morton's neuroma. However, the quality of the evidence is low, and these findings may change with further research.
Clinicians often use foot orthoses to manage the symptoms of plantar fasciitis. Although there has been considerable research evaluating the effectiveness of orthoses for this condition, there is still a lack of scientific evidence that is of suitable quality to fully inform clinical practice. Randomized controlled trials are recognized as the “gold standard” when evaluating the effectiveness of treatments. We discuss why randomized controlled trials are so important, the features of a well-conducted randomized controlled trial, and some of the problems that arise when trial design is not sound. We then evaluate the available evidence for the use of foot orthoses, with particular focus on published randomized controlled trials. From the evidence to date, it seems that foot orthoses do have a role in the management of plantar fasciitis and that prefabricated orthoses are a worthwhile initial management strategy. At this time, however, it is not possible to recommend either prefabricated or customized orthoses as being better, and it cannot be inferred that customized orthoses are more effective over time and therefore have a cost advantage. Additional good-quality randomized controlled trials are needed to answer these questions. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 94(6): 542–549, 2004)
Falls are common in older people and are associated with substantial health-care costs. A recent randomized controlled trial of a multifaceted podiatric medical intervention demonstrated a 36% reduction in the fall rate over 12 months. We evaluated the acceptability of and levels of satisfaction with this intervention in the older people who participated in the trial.
Participants allocated to the intervention group (which included a home-based program of foot and ankle exercises, assistance with the purchase of safe footwear when necessary, and provision of prefabricated foot orthoses) completed a structured questionnaire 6 months after they had received the intervention. The questions addressed participants’ perceptions of their balance and foot and ankle strength, the perceived difficulty of the exercise program, and the degree of satisfaction with the footwear and orthoses provided.
Of 153 participants, 134 (87.6%) attended the 6-month follow-up assessment and completed the questionnaire. Most participants perceived improvements in balance (62.7%) and foot and ankle strength (74.6%) after 6 months of performing the exercises, and 86.6% considered the difficulty level of the exercises to be “about right.” Most participants reported that they were somewhat or very satisfied with the footwear (92.3%) and orthoses (81.6%) provided.
The multifaceted podiatric medical intervention used in this trial was generally perceived to be beneficial and demonstrated high levels of satisfaction among participants. Further research is now required to evaluate the feasibility of implementing the intervention in a range of clinical practice settings. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(6): 457–464, 2013)
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.
Due to the exponential increase in the quantity and quality of podiatric medicine–related research during the past decade, podiatric physicians are inundated with an insurmountable volume of research relevant to clinical practice. Systematic reviews can refine this literature by using explicit, rigorous, and reproducible methods to identify, critically appraise, and synthesize the best evidence from all clinical trials to answer clearly defined clinical questions. The Cochrane Collaboration is an international not-for-profit organization created to improve the user-friendliness and accessibility of medical literature mainly through preparing and maintaining systematic reviews of health-care interventions. The Cochrane Library currently contains more than 50 podiatric medicine–relevant systematic reviews summarizing and synthesizing evidence from many hundreds of randomized controlled trials evaluating interventions for foot problems. Although more than 60 countries worldwide have open online access to The Cochrane Library, in the United States, only the state of Wyoming has free access to full-text reviews. In an era demanding an evidence-based approach for every clinical intervention, high-quality systematic reviews streamline podiatric medical literature by reducing the time, cost, and training necessary to establish a solid evidence base for practice. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 99(3): 260–266, 2009)