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A new survey has been launched aimed at establishing the most commonly unanswered questions about foot health in the UK.
Organised by the James Lind Alliance and the University of Salford on behalf of the Dr William M Scholl endowment fund, the study will try to find out the top ten research priorities relating to matters of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of foot conditions.
Armed with this information, it will allow future medical research to establish a set of priorities that could help podiatrists provide enhanced care in the future.
Professor Chris Nester of the University of Salford’s School of Health Sciences commented: “We all know that loss of foot health can quickly immobilise us and interfere significantly with daily living. This is regardless of age or general health issues and high rates of diabetes are particularly alarming in terms of future foot health problems."
He added: "Researchers want to help understand foot health and how best to diagnose problems and treat them." However, he noted, the "challenge" is to find out which conditions warrant the most attention.
Establishing the key questions that need to be answered in order to help podiatrists offer the best care is a core aim for the James Lind Alliance, which was established in 2004 to bring patients and medical professionals together for this purpose.
The survey was launched on November 1st and will continue until January 31st 2019. It asks patients, those answering on behalf of patients and clinicians what unanswered questions they have, with prompts that give examples such as how foot health might be affected by conditions like Parkinson's disease or diabetes.
It also seeks to connect the prevalence of different issues with demographic data such as age, gender, ethnicity and geographical location.
Areas where the need for better treatment has already been identified include that of foot ulcers, a common problem for diabetics.
Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and Leicester's hospitals recently launched a new streamlined pathway aimed at accelerating the detection of foot ulcers so that treatment can be provided sooner.
Written by Angela Newbury
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