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01-12-2017 | Research | Uitgave 1/2017 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2017

National profile of foot orthotic provision in the United Kingdom, part 1: practitioners and scope of practice

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2017
CJ Nester, A Graham, A Martinez-Santos, AE Williams, J McAdam, V Newton
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s13047-017-0215-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Foot orthoses have been advocated in the management of a wide range of clinical foot and lower limb problems and are within the scope of podiatry, orthotic and physiotherapy practice. Previous reports into the provision of orthoses have consistently identified significant issues with services and devices, but data were never specific to foot orthoses. The aim of this first of a series of papers was to report the first ever national multi professional profile of foot orthosis provision in the United Kingdom.


Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from podiatrists, orthotists and physiotherapists via an online questionnaire. The topics, questions and answers were developed through a series of pilot phases. The professions were targeted through electronic and printed materials. Data were captured over a 10 month period in 2016.


A total of 499 responses were included in analysis, including 357 podiatrists, 93 orthotists and 49 physiotherapists. The results reveal wide ranging practices across podiatrists, orthotists and physiotherapists, provision of orthoses through different health care departments (uni and multidisciplinary), for different health conditions (acute and chronic), and involving different types of orthoses (prefabricated and customised).


Foot orthoses in the United Kingdom are provided in areas of well recognised health and rehabilitation priorities. A wide range of orthotic devices and practices are employed and different professions provide foot orthoses in different ways.

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