Content » Vol 45, Issue 5

Original report

The effectiveness of a multidisciplinary foot care program for children and adolescents with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: An exploratory trial

Gordon J. Hendry, Gordon F. Watt , Mhairi Brandon, Lorraine Friel, Debbie E. Turner, Paula K. Lorgelly, Janet Gardner-Medwin, Roger D. Sturrock, James Woodburn
Institute of Applied Health Research, Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1130


Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of multidisciplinary foot-care, and to evaluate the methodological considerations of a trial of multidisciplinary care in juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
Design: Exploratory randomised controlled trial.
Subjects/Patients: Children/adolescents with juvenile idio-pathic arthritis and inflammatory joint disease affecting the foot/ankle.
Methods: Standard medical care was compared with a 12 month program of multidisciplinary foot-care informed by musculoskeletal ultrasound. This program was centred on strict disease control through rigorous examination and interventions delivered by a team comprised of a paediatric rheumatologist, podiatrist, physiotherapist and musculoskeletal ultrasonographer. Patients were assessed on foot impairment and disability scores using the Juvenile Arthritis Foot Disability Index.
Results: Forty-four participants, aged 3–17 years were randomly assigned to receive the experimental (n = 21) or usual care (n = 23) interventions. There was an overall improvement in levels of foot related impairments in both groups over 12 months. Between-group differences in change scores for the Juvenile Arthritis Foot Disability Index were not statistically significant at 6 or 12 month follow-ups.
Conclusion: The integrated multidisciplinary foot care interventions described in this trial were safe, but did not improve foot impairment levels relative to usual care. This trial identified several methodological challenges including recruitment/retention, difficulties with outcome tools and potential confounders.

Lay Abstract


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