This survey of current practice among Australian podiatrists treating hallux valgus (HV) was conducted to determine whether there exists a non-surgical treatment consensus, and also whether the current state of practice is aligned with available clinical guidelines.
A secondary aim was to explore the most common presenting problems and physical examination findings associated with HV in those seeking treatment from Australian podiatrists.
The main body of the final survey instrument consisted of 16 questions (12 fixed response questions and 4 allowing open-ended responses), divided into 4 sections: the typical HV patient, the juvenile patient, the adult patient and the older adult with HV.
Within each section, survey respondents were asked to select (as ‘tick boxes’) the five most common treatment options, presenting concerns and physical examination findings.
Further questions were included in the survey to gather the following participant demographic information: age, sex, location (state/territory) of primary practice, years of clinical experience, practice setting (public/private sector), and full-time or part-time work status.
Finally, participants were asked to indicate approximately how many HV cases they had seen in the past month, and whether or not they had completed (or partially completed) specialist surgical training.
The results of this survey have demonstrated that a consensus exists among Australian podiatrists regarding non-surgical management of HV, although typically management recommendations differ between adults, older adults and juveniles with HV.
Their recommended non-surgical treatment options include footwear advice (wider, lower-heeled shoes) or modification, bunion pads, orthoses, ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.
Recommendations were largely aligned with existing clinical consensus documents, however, management strategies differed according to patient age group.
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