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An exploration of the experiences of people living with painful ankle osteoarthritis and the non-surgical management of this condition

Yeowell, Gillian ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3872-9799, Samarji, Richard and Callaghan, Michael (2021) An exploration of the experiences of people living with painful ankle osteoarthritis and the non-surgical management of this condition. Physiotherapy, 110. pp. 70-76. ISSN 0031-9406

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Abstract

Objectives Osteoarthritis (OA) of the ankle joint is associated with life-long joint pain and disability if not appropriately managed. There is a dearth of research concerning ankle OA and the impact on those living with the condition. Aim: To explore the experiences of people living with painful OA ankle and their views about the non-surgical management of this condition. Design Qualitative design, using semi-structured interviews. Participants Nine participants, recruited from an orthopaedic clinic at a UK hospital and the general population. All had a clinical and radiographic diagnosis of OA ankle. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was undertaken to identify emerging themes. Ethical approval was obtained. Results: Nine semi-structured interviews were undertaken. Eight participants were male, median age = 55 years (IQR = 42.5 - 64.5). Mechanism of onset was due to trauma (falls, repeated inversion injuries or road traffic collisions) (n = 7), or the effects of haemophilia (n = 2). The median duration of symptoms was 2 years (IQR = 1.5 - 10). Data saturation was achieved. Four themes were identified: • Signs and symptoms • Impact on participation • Impact on self-identity & mental wellbeing • Views on non-surgical management Conclusions: This is the first study to explore the experiences of people with symptomatic OA ankle. Our findings suggest that those with OA ankle suffer with severe pain, which has a substantial negative impact on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. The findings of this study may be used to inform future research.

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