Podiatric surgery and research – what’s missing?

Dean Samaras
By Dr Dean Samaras
Dr Dean Samaras is a fellow of the Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons (ACPS) and a trustee of APERF. He is a registered specialist, podiatric surgeon, with Ahpra (PBA) and endorsed to prescribe scheduled medicines. Dean is an adjunct lecturer at LaTrobe University and has published research in prominent peer reviewed foot and ankle journals. His main research topics have included minimal incision foot surgery, hallux rigidus and soft tissue pathology.

Since the establishment of the Australian Podiatry Education & Research Fund (APERF) in 1990, research methods and standards have evolved over this time and so too, has the clinical scope and impact of the podiatry profession on the healthcare system.


Where we are at

Amongst the many fields of podiatric medicine, APERF has strategically funded a wide variety of musculoskeletal and surgical related projects and the results of published research funded by APERF continues to be incorporated into daily practice by podiatric surgeons, both locally and abroad.


Podiatric surgeons are registered specialists within the profession and have pioneered the implementation and development of many foot surgical techniques. The indications, safety and short to medium-term outcomes of many foot and ankle surgical interventions have been established, however there is certainly room for further research.


Areas to explore

Cost effectiveness of podiatric surgeon techniques and services compared to other providers has been demonstrated and this should be evaluated further. It is also important for podiatric surgeons to continue to investigate surgical outcomes with an emphasis on patient reported outcome measures (PROMs) and over a longer period of follow up. These methods are required as part of the ongoing assessment of the delivery and impact of podiatric surgery on patient health and quality of life in Australia.


How to make a difference

APERF, as a priority, supports research that has the potential for the greatest impact on improving outcomes for patients. I would therefore encourage aspiring and experienced podiatric researchers to collaborate with industry partners, podiatrists, podiatric surgeons and surgical registrars (trainees) on future surgical projects. 


If you have a research idea or wish to express interest in leading a surgery related research project, contact the Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons (ACPS) and/or the Podiatric Surgery Department at the University of Western Australia (UWA).


More information 

For more information about the annual APERF grant program, application process and different ways to contribute to the Foundation can be found here.


The Australian Podiatry Education and Research Foundation (APERF) was established in 1991 and exists to advance research into the causes, prevention, and treatment of foot problems. APERF is a charitable trust that is currently overseen by seven trustees. Since its establishment, APERF has supported 81 research projects and has awarded $495,000 in research grants. For more information about APERF or to make a donation, please visit the website and follow on Twitter @_aperf