This study aims to identify what people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) need in relation to foot health education (FHE) and the barriers to its provision.
A survey questionnaire was designed to capture quantitative and qualitative data from people with RA from across the UK.
Five hundred forty-three people with RA completed the survey. The majority of respondents in this study were female (aged between 40 and 69 years of age) and had disease duration of more than 5 years.
Forty percent of respondents stated that they received podiatry treatment, of which only 162 people receive NHS podiatry.
The majority of the participants stated that they agreed with the aims of FHE, despite only one-third of participants reporting that they had received FHE.
Participants rated the importance of the content of FHE as high overall, which supports the value that people with RA place on managing their foot health.
Items about the impact that RA and its related medications have on the feet, the role of podiatrist, and the interventions that are used in foot health management and self-management rated particularly highly, showing synergy with the findings of a survey of practitioners’ perceptions of FHE.
Participant gender, age, disease duration and living situation had a statistically significant influence on the results.
The participants reported that they should receive FHE at the time of their diagnosis.
A lack of access to foot health services and poor awareness of how RA can impact on foot health potentially inhibits individuals’ ability to understand what questions they should be asking health professionals about their feet.
Verbal information should be offered and supported with written resources, either through the use of leaflets or via appropriate internet-based resources.
The authors are of the opinion that FHE needs should be identified and tailored to the individual requirements of the person with RA.
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