Footwear characteristics and factors influencing footwear choice in patients with gout
OBJECTIVE. Gout is associated with foot pain, impairment and disability. The aim of this study was to assess footwear characteristics and key factors influencing footwear choice in patients with gout. We also wished to evaluate the relationship between footwear characteristics and foot disability.
METHODS. Fifty patients with a history of acute gout were recruited from rheumatology clinics during the summer months. Clinical characteristics, global function, and foot impairment and disability measures were recorded. Footwear characteristics and the factors associated with choice of footwear were identified using validated assessment tools. Suitability of footwear was assessed using pre-determined criteria for assessing adequacy of footwear, based on a previous study of foot pain. RESULTS. The patients had moderate to severe foot pain, impairment and disability. Poor footwear characteristics included poor cushioning, lack of support, lack of stability and motion control. Over 50% of shoes were ≥12 months old and demonstrated excessive wear patterns. Patients reported comfort (98%), fit (90%), support (79%) and cost (60%) as important factors in choosing their own footwear. No correlation was found between footwear characteristics (length and width) and foot characteristics (foot pain, impairment and disability). Patients with poor footwear reported higher foot-related impairment and disability. CONCLUSION. Use of poor footwear is common in patients with chronic gout and is associated with foot disability and impairment.