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01-12-2019 | Research | Uitgave 1/2019 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2019

Determining the clinical knowledge and practice of Australian podiatrists on children with developmental coordination disorder: a cross-sectional survey

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2019
Mitchell Smith, Helen A. Banwell, Emily Ward, Cylie M. Williams
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13047-019-0353-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a common condition in children affecting motor coordination. This impacts on academic performance, and activities of daily living. Literature surrounding interventions for DCD has focused mostly on physical and occupational therapies. However, it is known that children with DCD present to podiatrists as these children often also have abnormalities in lower limb functioning associated with the condition. This study aimed to determine current knowledge of Australian podiatrists regarding presentation, assessment, and management of children with developmental coordination disorder.


A single-round survey, developed using SurveyMonkey®, was completed by a sample of Australian podiatrists. Data were collected through either online or paper means. Participants were asked about their familiarity with DCD and depending on their response, were directed via skip logic to questions on presentation, assessment and management strategies of DCD in children. Participants were also asked about their willingness and preferences for further education on DCD. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the data.


There were 365 Australian podiatrists who completed the survey. There were 30% (n = 109) who reported being familiar with DCD as a diagnosis, while a further 37% (n = 134) reported familiarity with alternate or outdated terminology associated with the DCD diagnosis. Participants who were familiar with DCD or terminology relating to DCD, showed good knowledge of signs and symptoms associated with DCD. Both familiar and unfamiliar participants favoured referral to other health professionals over completing assessments. Common podiatric management strategies such as footwear advice, orthoses, and strength training were the most frequently chosen by both groups, despite current evidence only supporting strength training as an intervention. Participants were willing to receive education on DCD through a range of both online and in-person mediums.


The majority of Australian podiatrists were unfamiliar with DCD, despite its prevalence and symptomology falling within the podiatric scope. However, participants did overwhelmingly show willingness to receive further education on DCD. Further research should consider understanding the role of podiatrists in the assessment and management of children with DCD and the impact of the type of treatment strategies that may be provided.

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