University of Salford survey aims to end ‘invisible’ use of foot orthoses

Researchers are keen to hear from physiotherapists who use foot orthoses to treat patients.


Chris Nester from the University of Salford says poor data is a barrier to improving services

The team, which is based in the school of health sciences, has launched a national survey to discover which health professions provide foot orthoses. They also want to know what type of patients and devices are involved. The survey is open until June.

The academics want to learn about the variations between individual clinicians and professional groups in the use of foot orthoses. How skills in using orthoses are developed and how research informs practice are other research topics.

Chris Nester, a podiatrist and professor who heads the research programme, said: ‘We are pretty convinced that foot orthoses are a good intervention, but the NHS is struggling to understand where they are provided.

‘While podiatry and orthotists have a strong voice in this field, other professions are not represented.

‘And we are trying to capture the range of patient groups that are benefiting, to identify variations in provision and create standards.’

Last November NHS England called for local commissioners to improve how orthoses are provided. Alongside this, it issued a set of guidance and resources to help them.

Its advice included looking at case studies to inform the most appropriate commissioning model for an area, and involving service users in performance reviews of the service.

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