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  • 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019
  • Project No: 396
  • Funding round: FR 15

Foot pain is common and causes poor balance, falls and difficulty performing everyday activities. Our previous research shows that patients are often frustrated when they see their GP about their feet; ‘They say “well, it’s just arthritis and old age and just keep popping the pills’”. Foot pain is commonly caused by osteoarthritis (OA) in older people, yet compared with other commonly affected joints such as the knee, hip and hand, there has been much less research on the foot. Most existing foot OA research is limited by focussing on the big toe, ignoring symptoms such as pain, and being undertaken in hospital settings. In our previous study, we sent questionnaires to everyone aged over 50 years registered with four general practices, ensuring our findings are relevant to the majority of people living in the community with painful foot OA. We provided the first estimate of how common painful foot OA affecting the big toe and midfoot is. However, it is not known how often painful foot OA gets worse over time, who is likely to do well or badly, or whether seeing a GP or having treatment such as physiotherapy reduces foot pain and improves function over time. Seven-year follow-up of our existing study of foot pain and OA using questionnaires will: (i) describe for the first time how often foot pain and OA get worse over time, (ii) identify which people are going to do well and understand better why some people get worse and (iii) examine whether seeing a GP or having treatments affects foot pain and function over time. This will help understand how to avoid, slow and treat progressive foot OA, understand which patients might respond to treatment, show us new directions for treatment, and improve health services for people with painful foot OA.

Amount awarded: £99,959

Theme: Non-communicable disease and ageing