University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

A Survey Comparing the Perceptions of Physiotherapists and Podiatrists in the Management of Plantar Fasciitis ... Including Commentary by S. Smith

Ferdinand, N.C., Smith, Gordon and Smith, S. (2014) A Survey Comparing the Perceptions of Physiotherapists and Podiatrists in the Management of Plantar Fasciitis ... Including Commentary by S. Smith. International Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation (formerly the British Journal of Therapy and Rehabilitation), 21 (11). pp. 526-538. ISSN Print: 1741-1645 Online: 1759-779X

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Background/Aims: Despite its prevalence, there is limited research into why patient outcomes for plantar fasciitis are poor. To elicit possible reasons for this, this study aimed to compare the perceptions of physiotherapists and podiatrists in plantar fasciitis management and their role in treating it.

Methods: Self-administered questionnaires were emailed to physiotherapists and podiatrists to investigate their perceptions of plantar fasciitis management and their roles in treating the condition. Data from the questionnaires were analysed using frequencies and chi-squared tests to detect differences in responses between physiotherapists and podiatrists.

Results: The questionnaire was completed by 230 physiotherapists and 227 podiatrists. The results indicated that, on the whole, physiotherapists and podiatrists have different perceptions of: the most effective treatments for plantar fasciitis; factors contributing to poor patient outcomes; and their roles. However, some areas of agreement were indicated: calf-stretching was deemed the most effective treatment; customised foot orthoses was identified as being the specialist role of podiatrists; and delayed referrals from doctors was highlighted as one of the main factors reducing patient outcomes for this condition. No consensus was reached on the specialist role of physiotherapists in the management of plantar fasciitis.

Conclusions: The findings show that physiotherapists and podiatrists generally have different perceptions on how plantar fasciitis should be managed. It is suggested that more research into treatment effectiveness would help standardise clinical decision-making in health care teams and improve patient outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: plantar fascilitis, physiotherapy, podiatry, therapist perceptions, professional roles
Subjects: R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine
Divisions: College of Health, Life and Environmental Sciences > School of Allied Health and Community
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Gordon Smith
Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2019 10:11
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2020 10:32

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