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The University of Southampton
Health Sciences

Painful knee problems to be tackled by Southampton podiatrist

Published: 7 June 2012
Lucy Gates

A podiatrist from the University of Southampton has been awarded a £175,000 training fellowship by leading medical research charity Arthritis Research UK.

Health Sciences PhD Fellow, Lucy Gates, is aiming to improve the way that people who have total knee replacements are treated.

Lucy's work will aim to explore if foot and ankle joint assessments carried out by healthcare professionals can help to predict outcomes of total knee replacement surgery.

Partial and total knee replacement surgery has risen rapidly among adults in recent decades due to our ageing population and the rise in obesity. Total knee replacement is increasingly common surgery for people with severe end stage osteoarthritis - a condition affecting at least eight million people in the UK.

People in Southampton who will take part in the three year trial will undergo thorough foot and ankle examinations and have their walking style captured and analysed on film. They will also complete questionnaires about their walking ability and foot and knee pain.

Lucy Gates said: "The study's long term aim is to provide a better understanding of foot and ankle assessments so that we can develop more effective treatment for patients who have knee replacement surgery.

"By measuring and observing people's foot and ankle characteristics I hope to influence the use of assessments like these within the NHS."

Arthritis Research UK's medical director, Professor Alan Silman, commented:"Total knee replacements are very common in the UK and it's a major operation with physical and psychological challenges both pre and post-surgery. Many people with osteoarthritis and knee problems end up having a replacement fitted.

"We know that the mechanical features of the foot and ankle are thought to have an influential role on the knee and we need a better understanding of which treatments are effective if we are to improve the outlook for patients in the future.

"Lucy's study has the potential to inform current practice with the development of treatment for future patients."

Notes for editors

About Arthritis Research UK

Arthritis Research UK is the leading authority on arthritis in the UK, conducting scientific and medical research into all types of arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions. It is the UK's fourth largest medical research charity and the only charity solely committed to funding high quality research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis.

For further information, case studies and expert interview opportunities please email or call 0207 6127282.


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