Foot pain has been shown to be prevalent across all age groups. The presence of foot pain may reduce mobility and impact on the ability to undertake activities of daily living. The aim of this study was to determine factors that are predictive of foot pain in a community based sample of the general population.
This study analysed data from the North West Adelaide Health Study, a cohort study located in the northwestern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia. Data were obtained between 2004–2006 and 2008–2010, using a self-completed questionnaire, computer assisted telephone interviewing, and a clinical assessment. The sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive values of variables were determined and generalised linear models ascertained the variables associated with the highest relative risk of self-reporting foot pain in 2008–2010 based on the data obtained in 2004–2006.
The prevalence of foot pain in 2004–2006 was 14.9 % (95 % CI 13.6–16.4) and in 2008–2010, 29.9 % (95 % CI 27.5–32.5). Variables with the highest sensitivity were: female sex, ever having back pain, self-reported arthritis, body mass index (BMI) classified as obese and having foot pain in 2004–2006, while most variables demonstrated high specificity. Those with the highest risk of reporting foot pain in 2008–2010 were those with depressive symptoms, self-reported arthritis, high BMI, self-reported upper limb pain and foot pain (in general or in specific regions of the foot) in 2004–2006.
Foot pain is common in the general population and those with the greatest risk of foot pain potentially represent a high level of chronicity and potential burden on the health system. Addressing the factors that predict foot pain, as well as the provision of targeted messages to highlight the importance of managing foot pain, may help reduce the impact on the population.