Podiatry intervention versus usual general practitioner care for symptomatic radiographic osteoarthritis of the first metatarsophalangeal joint: a randomised clinical feasibility study
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).
A 2-arm, participant- and assessor-blinded, randomized feasibility study was conducted over 12 weeks. Participants were age >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, 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 dropouts.
A total of 236 people were screened, and 30 (13%) were included. All except 1 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 the exercise sessions and wore orthoses for an average of 6.3 hours/day. Adherence to medication use was 5.3 on an 11-point numeric rating scale. Both treatment approaches improved pain and function by clinically important differences at 12 weeks.
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.