The authors reported the results of a survey which used a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) population-based sample in a well-defined geographical area – to determine the prevalence of self-reported foot problems, assess their impact (based on previous qualitative work) and to identify the proportion of patients who have accessed foot care (podiatry, orthotics and/or orthopaedics) within the chosen geographical area.
The study design was an RA population-based, cross-sectional survey of patients located in Bristol, United Kingdom.
The target population for this study included patients over the age of 18 years, diagnosed with RA, attending rheumatology medical care at hospitals in the region, and registered for primary care within the community service.
Patients were sent an invitation letter, a questionnaire and a FREEPOST return envelope.
The study questionnaire collected clinical and general demographic data, presence and impact of foot problems, foot care accessed and a description of foot care received.
Responders were classified as having accessed foot care (AFC) if they reported to have accessed/utilised podiatry, orthotics and/or orthopaedics.
Impact of foot problems was substantial with 178 reporting moderate foot-related impairment and 105 reporting severe foot-related impairment.
Self-reported foot problems were present in 91% of the random sample of all adult patients with RA in Bristol, and these problems were found to substantially impact patients’ lives.
While overall access to foot care was higher than anticipated, the extent of the problems observed suggested the provision of effective, timely and targeted care to be a pressing need.
The authors concluded that foot care needs to be coordinated and tailored to individual patient’s needs in order to improve outcomes for patients.
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