Characteristics of primary care consultations for musculoskeletal foot and ankle problems in the UK Academic Article uri icon


  • Foot and ankle problems are highly prevalent in the general population; however, little is known about the characteristics of those seeking medical assessment for these problems. The objective of this study was to explore the extent and types of musculoskeletal foot and ankle problems in primary care.Consultation data related to musculoskeletal foot and ankle problems in 2006 were extracted from the Consultations in Primary Care Archive (CiPCA), which covers consultations in 12 general practices in North Staffordshire. Data were cross-tabulated by age and gender, and annual consultation prevalence per 10,000 registered persons was calculated.Of the 55,033 musculoskeletal consultations documented in CiPCA in 2006, 4500 (8%) related to foot and ankle problems. The most commonly documented Read term was 'foot pain' (1281 consultations; 28%), followed by 'ankle pain' [451 (10%)]. Most consultations [3538 (79%)] involved non-traumatic conditions. Females accounted for slightly more consultations than males (55 vs 45%), and the highest proportion of consultations involved people aged 45-64 years (36%). The number of consultations per patient ranged from 1 to 11. Annual consultation prevalence was 290 per 10,000 registered persons and increased with age, reaching a peak in the 65- to 74-year age group (411 per 10,000 registered persons).Foot and ankle problems account for a substantial number of consultations in primary care, and most frequently involve non-traumatic conditions. Further research is required to evaluate the factors that influence consultation for foot problems and strategies that general practitioners use to manage these conditions.

publication date

  • July 2010

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