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

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2019

The impact of multimorbidity on foot health outcomes in podiatry patients with musculoskeletal foot pain: a prospective observational study

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2019
Gordon J. Hendry, Linda Fenocchi, Helen Mason, Martijn Steultjens
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s13047-019-0346-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Multimorbidity is prevalent and adversely affects health outcomes. Foot pain is common and one of the primary reasons for utilisation of podiatry services. At present, little is known about the impact of multimorbidity on foot health and related outcomes following podiatric intervention. The aims of this study were to evaluate whether there is a difference in foot health outcomes following exposure to podiatric foot care for people with and without multimorbidity; and ii) to evaluate whether the presence or absence of multimorbidity affects patients’ perceptions of change in foot pain.


The PROMFoot study is a prospective cohort study of adults with a new episode of foot pain attending the podiatry service within the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board. Baseline medical comorbidity status (no condition, single condition, multiple conditions), longitudinal data on foot health measured using the Foot Health Status Questionnaire (FHSQ), and patient rating of change scores for foot pain were obtained from the PROMFoot study at baseline, and 3 and 6 months after podiatric intervention. Foot health scores (pain, function, footwear and general foot health) and perceptions of change for foot pain were compared between comorbidity groups.


A total of 115 participants (59% female) with a mean age of 55 years were included. Multimorbidity was common, affecting 61 participants (53%); while 28 (24.3%) and 26 (22.6%) reported single or no medical comorbidities respectively. Significantly worse foot health scores for all FHSQ domains were observed for the multimorbidity group at baseline, 3 and 6 months. Change scores for foot pain were similar between groups and demonstrate modest improvements, however multimorbidity group membership was strongly associated with a perceptions of change in foot pain. Multimorbidity was independently associated with poorer foot function outcomes at 3 months, and poorer foot pain and foot function outcomes at 6 months.


Multimorbidity was associated with poor foot health outcomes and lower rates of self-perceived improvement in foot pain over 6 months following podiatric intervention in a sample of patients attending podiatric biomechanics clinics for a new episode of foot pain.

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