Podiatry intervention versus usual general practitioner care for symptomatic radiographic osteoarthritis of the first metatarsophalangeal joint: a randomised clinical feasibility study
OBJECTIVE:To determine the feasibility of a clinical trial comparing a podiatry intervention to usual general practitioner (GP) care for people with first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint osteoarthritis (OA). METHODS:A two-arm, participant- and assessor-blinded, randomised feasibility study was conducted over 12-weeks. Participants were aged over 40 years and had pain and radiographic OA in the first MTP joint. Participants in the podiatry group had 3 visits and received foot orthoses, exercise and manual therapy, and advice. Participants in the GP group had 1 visit and received medication advice/prescription, and the same advice as the podiatry group. Primary outcomes were measures of feasibility (recruitment, attendance and retention rates; percentage of prescribed exercise sessions completed; orthoses wear hours/day; treatment fidelity). Secondary outcomes included self-reported pain, function, satisfaction, adherence, adverse events and drop outs. RESULTS:Thirty people from 236 screened (13%) were included. All except one participant in the podiatry group attended the required clinical visits, and retention rates were 93% (podiatry group) and 80% (GP group). Participants completed 66% of exercise sessions and wore orthoses for an average of 6.3 hours/day. Adherence to medication use was 5.3 on 11-point NRS. Both treatments improved pain and function by clinically important differences at 12 weeks. CONCLUSION:A clinical trial comparing a podiatry intervention to usual GP care for people with first MTP joint OA is feasible. Given the improvements in pain and function observed, a larger appropriately powered clinical trial is warranted to evaluate the superiority of one treatment approach over the other.