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

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2019

The prevalence and impact of self-reported foot and ankle pain in the over 55 age group: a secondary data analysis from a large community sample

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2019
Anne-Maree Keenan, Chris Drake, Philip G. Conaghan, Alan Tennant
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While the prevalence and impact of musculoskeletal problems are high, most attention has been directed towards the back, knee and hip disorders. Foot pain is known to be common in older adults and accounts for a significant burden on health services. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of foot and ankle joint pain, considering age, presence of co-morbidities and other site joint pain, in a large community sample.


In the North Yorkshire Health study, 16,222 people over 55 years participated in a detailed survey of the prevalence and impact of lower limb joint problems. Self-assessment of overall body pain and functional activities of daily living were assessed. Participants indicated the presence of joint pain, stiffness or swelling during the last 3 months which had lasted for more than 6 weeks on a manikin: data were captured on the foot and the ankle.


The prevalence of self-reported foot and ankle joint pain was substantial: 184.33 per 1000, second only to knee problems. While foot pain was common, it was mostly associated with joint pain at other sites; only 1 in 11 of those with foot and ankle pain reported it only in the foot. Logistic regression modeling revealed while established factors such as co-morbidities, knee and hip problems contributed to functional impairment, foot and ankle problems contributed to an additional increased risk of having difficulty standing and walking by two fold (OR = 2.314, 95%CI 2.061–2.598), going up and down stairs by 71% (OR = 1.711, 95%CI 1.478–1.980) and getting up from a seated position by 44% (OR = 1.438, 95%CI 1.197–1.729).


These results suggest that not only are foot problems in the over 55 age group extremely prevalent, they have a considerable impact on functional abilities.

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