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Research project: The clinical importance of forefoot bursitis in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

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The main purpose of this study is to reassess the forefeet using musculoskeletal ultrasound of an established cohort of participants with rheumatoid arthritis at three years. It is anticipated that further examination of the forefeet at a third time point will add new information in the management of foot symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

There is currently no funding strategy for Allied Health Professionals to follow an early research career. We have developed an internship route for promising new graduates funded and supported by arthritis research UK. Although successful in terms of attracting high calibre new graduates into rheumatology research, we have identified a limitation of the internship programme that we are currently attempting to address with arthritis research UK. At this stage in their careers, for the interns no other funding streams are available. There is clearly justification for more podiatry related studies especially in the assessment of change in foot status in chronic fluctuating diseases, such as RA and utilizing MSUS. This justification for funding for this study centres on the employment of an intern as a research assistant following their internship programme.


Using musculoskeletal ultrasound performed by a podiatrist, this longitudinal cohort study provides an opportunity to further investigate the natural history and progression of bursitis occurring within the feet of patients who have RA and to explore any interrelationships that may exist to disease state, foot mechanics and foot pain and disability over time. It is anticipated that data from this study would provide further information to support more precise diagnosis and timely management of foot pain, disability and loss of mobility for patients who have RA.

Project team

Bowen C, Hooper L, Edwards C, Arden N

Project funder

Southampton Rheumatology Research Trust

Associated research groups

Rehabilitation and Health Technologies, School of Health Sciences, University of Southampton
MRC epidemiology resource centre, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital
Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, Southampton General Hospital
Department of Rheumatology, Southampton General Hospital


Associated research themes

Rheumatoid arthritis
Ultrasound Imaging
Foot and ankle pathology

Related research groups

Active Living and Rehabilitation

Key Publication

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