Standards of care for people with musculoskeletal foot health problems

28/05/08: Dr Anthony Redmond, ARC lecturer in Podiatry, Chapel Allerton Hospital, Leeds

Services addressing the foot health needs of people with musculoskeletal (rheumatic) disorders vary widely in the UK. A set of widely agreed standards of care have been developed to explain how the foot health needs of people with musculoskeletal conditions should be addressed.

The standards were designed to help those who plan and manage foot health services, but they will also will help people who are experiencing problems with their feet understand what they should be able to expect in terms of their care.

Musculoskeletal foot health care— key points

Your family, hospital doctors, nurses, podiatrists and the other health professionals should know about the foot health standards. Key points are:

  • People with foot symptoms should be provided with information in a format that helps them to understand the relationship between their arthritis and their foot problems.
  • People should be provided with the information and assistance required to look after their own foot health needs as far as is practicable and safe.
  • Foot health care can be provided by many different members of the health care team, including podiatrists, consultants, general practitioners, nurses, orthotists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and others, and people should receive professional care relevant to the complexity of their needs.
  • People with RA should receive an assessment of their foot health needs.
  • People who experience a change in disease status should have their foot health needs reassessed.
  • Mechanisms should be in place for timely referral to professionals with the necessary skills and expertise as required.

The standards were launched at the BSR annual meeting in Liverpool on the 22nd April 2008.

Electronic versions of the full document detailing standards of care for people with musculoskeletal foot health problems can also be found at

As part of the work that has been done on foot standards a patient leaflet has been produced called 'Feet First' and this can be obtained by opening the link below or by calling the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society office on 0800 298 7650 to request a copy.

Click here for PDF

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