JFAR Update

Explore-worthy Australian studies


Curated by

Andrew Buldt | Section Editor

The team at the Journal of Foot and Ankle Research (JFAR) are back in STRIDE with three clinically relevant studies for members to read every quarter. Each of the following studies has been produced by an Australian research group!

Culturally safe student placements improves knowledge and treatment of first nations people

Study #1 - Effect of a culturally safe student placement on students’ understanding of, and confidence with, providing culturally safe podiatry care. West, M., Sadler, S., Hawke, F., Munteanu, S.E., Chuter, V. J Foot Ankle Res 14:9 (2021)


What happened - The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of undertaking clinical placement in a culturally safe podiatry service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples on podiatry students’ understanding of, and confidence with, providing culturally safe podiatry care. Final year podiatry students at the University of Newcastle attended a culturally safe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student clinic. The clinics are designed to create an environment that is considerate of the spiritual, physical, social and emotional world view of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. During the clinic sessions, students provided podiatry assessments and management, patient education about strategies to maintain good foot health, and participated in pre- and post-appointment yarning circles with clinic clients.


Outcome - Students completed a cultural awareness and capability survey before and after their clinical placements. The results found a significant improvement in the understanding of factor including culture, history and interrelationship with health and health care delivery. Improvements were also apparent for confidence in providing culturally appropriate and safe podiatric care. The study provides foundation evidence of the role that culturally safe placements have on developing students’ cultural capability in a tertiary health care setting, and will help inform future curricula development at both educational institutions and health services.

Diabetes-related foot disease may be underestimated in Australia

Study #2 - Diabetes-related foot disease in Australia: a systematic review of the prevalence and incidence of risk factors, disease and amputation in Australian populations. Zhang, Y., van Netten, J.J., Baba, M., Cheng, Q., Pacella, R., McPhail, S.M., Cramb, S., Lazzarini, P.A. J Foot Ankle Res 14:8 (2021)


What happened - The aim of the systematic review was to investigate the prevalence or incidence of risk factors for DFD (neuropathy, PAD, previous ulcer, previous amputation, foot deformity), of DFD (ulcers and infection), and of diabetes-related amputations (total, minor and major amputation) in Australia. A total of 20 articles were included for data extraction. The data suggest that within people with diabetes in Australia, there is a relatively high proportion that have risk factors for developing DFD. While only a low proportion develop DFD, a high proportion of these appear to be hospitalised for DFD or undergo amputations.


Outcome - It is possible that there is an underestimation of DFD prevalence in Australia in the few limited studies, given the high incidence of hospitalisation and amputation because of DFD. The study also found high amputation rates were higher in Indigenous and geographically remote populations with lower access to DFD treatment.

People with chronic ankle pain have lower quality of life

Study #3 - Quality of life, function and disability in individuals with chronic ankle symptoms: a cross-sectional online survey. Al Mahrouqi, M.M., MacDonald, D.A., Vicenzino, B., Smith, M.D. J Foot Ankle Res 13:67 (2020)


What happened - The aim of the study was to compare self-reported pain, function, ankle instability, physical activity, and QoL between individuals with and without chronic ankle symptoms. The study used an online survey of 270 individuals with and 124 without ankle pain or stiffness for longer than 3 months duration. The survey captured information relating to pain and stiffness, quality of life, function, pain and disability, ankle instability and physical activity.


Outcome - The data indicated that individuals with chronic ankle symptoms reported higher BMI and disability and lower QoL, function and ankle stability than asymptomatic controls. The data also showed a strong association between the Foot and Ankle Ability Measure activities of Daily Living subscale and QoL. This suggests that the management of individuals with chronic ankle symptoms should specifically target improving function.