Foot health needs in people with systemic sclerosis: an audit of foot health care provision
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The vascular and cutaneous alterations evident in systemic sclerosis/scleroderma (SSc) place the foot at risk of ulceration. The UK Podiatry Rheumatic Care Association (PRCA)/Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance standards of care recommend that all people with SSc should receive at least basic information about their foot health, and that those with foot problems should have access to self-management advice and care where needed. The aim of this study was to evaluate foot health services offered in Leeds (UK) for people with SSc, against nationally agreed standards of care. Ninety-one consecutive patients with SSc were selected from either the connective tissue disease outpatient clinic (n = 70) or the specialist rheumatology foot health clinic (n = 21) at Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. All the patients completed a disease-specific audit tool developed by the UK PRCA that evaluates provision of foot health care for patients with SSc. Sixty-one patients (67%) reported having had foot problems at some point in time and 54 (59%) had current foot problems. Of these 54 patients, 17 (32%) had not received any foot care. Only 36 (39%) of the 91 patients had received any foot health information. This audit demonstrates that patients with SSc have a relatively high prevalence of self-reported foot problems. Foot health care and information are inadequate for people with SSc and foot problems, and preventative information is almost non-existent. Improved foot health information will better empower patients to self-manage low risk problems, and help identify high risk problems which require specialist care.
KeywordsFeet Foot health services Podiatry Scleroderma Standards of care Systemic sclerosis
Acknowledgements and funding
The authors would like to thank Dr Laszlo Szabo for his contribution to the patient recruitment. This work was supported by a portfolio of research funded by Arthritis Research UK and the National Institute of Health Research.
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