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Research project: ELFOAB / Epidemiology and lifetime risk of osteoarthritis within the foot and biomechanical functional outcomes

Currently Active: 

Supported by a Multi-Centre collaboration of four key research organizations, this project forms a comprehensive investigation, spanning 23 years, of the prevalence, progression, biomechanical function and associated risk factors for foot osteoarthritis.

An evidence gap for the prevalence, incidence and risk factors for OA within the feet exists. To address this, an observational cohort design is utilised to investigate two established cohorts from the general population who were recruited without selection of known lower limb osteoarthritis or foot pain.

The Chingford Women’s study cohort has made many significant contributions to our understanding of OA epidemiology with 23 year follow-up data. This cohort was specifically recruited from a general population of women who had no evidence of osteoarthritis at inception. It has since become a prospective population-based longitudinal cohort of women seen annually and described in detail. It is listed by the National Institute for Health research (NIHR) as an important epidemiological resource and one of the few such cohorts with wide-ranging musculoskeletal data.

In order to explore the potential for gender bias in our study we have additionally performed a comparative data collection between a sample of middle aged and older healthy male participants (recruited 2017) from the Nottingham group KPIC (knee pain in the community) cohort.

The research project was designed as a series of 3 inter-linked studies: Clinical-Epidemiological (Study 1), Functional-Laboratory (Study 2) and Software-Technical (Study 3). Studies 2 and 3 follow study 1 and are parallel.

The project is supported by four key research groups, the Rehabilitation & Health Technologies Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, the Human Motor Performance Research Group in the School of Health, Sport and Bioscience, University of East London, the Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre, University of Nottingham and the NIHR Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, University of Oxford.

Funder: Dr William M Scholl Research and Development Endowment Fund

Conferences and events

Bowen C.J, Culliford D, Leyland K, Arden NK. Footwear Habits and General Health in Middle-Aged Women: A Retrospective Ten Year Study. Oral presentation. FIP World Congress of Podiatry, Rome, Oct, 2013.

McQueen PL, Bowen CJ, Daniels M, Cherry L, Doherty M, Arden NK. Radiographical abnormality of hallucal sesamoids in middle-aged females. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research Oct 2013. (The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists Annual Conference, poster presentation).

McQueen PL, Bowen CJ, Daniels M, Doherty M, Arden NK (2014) Orthoses; the honest problem with patient success when proving the value of a key podiatric treatment. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research Oct 2014. (The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists Annual Conference, poster presentation).

McQueen P, Daniels M, Doherty M, Arden NK, Bowen CJ. Painful foot osteoarthritis: a common symptom in a common pathology. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research Nov 2015. The College of Podiatry Annual Conference, Harrogate.

Associated research themes


Biomechanical function

Foot and ankle pathology

Radiographic imaging of the foot

Related research groups

Active Living and Rehabilitation
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