Important Features of Retail Shoes for Women With Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Delphi Consensus Survey
Tehan, PE; Taylor, WJ; Carroll, M; Dalbeth, N; Rome, K
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Objectives Footwear management aims to preserve foot function, reduce the burden of foot pain and maintain joint mobility in women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Whilst retail footwear is commonly recommended by health professionals, there is no current consensus on recommended features of retail footwear for women with RA. This study aimed to determine consensus from health professionals about the important features of retail footwear for women with RA. Methods An international Delphi exercise using online survey software was conducted with 39 participants from health care backgrounds. Three iterative rounds were conducted. In the first round, participants listed features of retail footwear that would be important for women with RA. Responses of the first round, combined with results of a scoping review of patient-reported outcome measures used in assessing footwear in arthritis and a qualitative analysis of female patients’ perspectives of retail footwear in RA were used to create items for the second round. Items were scored by a 9-point rating scale with consensus defined by the RAND/UCLA disagreement index. The third round consisted of items which did not reach consensus or scored >1 on the RAND/UCLA disagreement index from round two. Results Fifty-eight items (n = 58) were generated for rating and at the end of three iterative rounds, there was agreement that thirty-eight items were important, that two were not important, and there was no agreement for a further eighteen items. Item themes reaching consensus included footwear characteristics and acceptability and psychosocial aspects of footwear. Footwear characteristics related to heel height, shape, cushioning, toe box size, adjustable fastening, removable insoles, mid-foot support and soft accommodative uppers. Acceptability and psychosocial aspects included affordability, comfort, aesthetic, style, colour and impact on femininity. Conclusion This consensus exercise has identified the important features of retail footwear for women with RA.