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“Somebody to Say ‘Come On We Can Sort This’”: A Qualitative Study of Primary Care Consultation Among Older Adults With Symptomatic Foot Osteoarthritis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2051-2055
Number of pages5
JournalArthritis and Rheumatism
Issue number12
Early online date27 Nov 2013
DateAccepted/In press - 21 Jun 2013
DateE-pub ahead of print - 27 Nov 2013
DatePublished (current) - Dec 2013


OBJECTIVE: To examine the experiences of primary care consultation among older adults with symptomatic foot osteoarthritis (OA).

METHODS: Eleven participants (6 women and 5 men) ages 56-80 years who had radiographically confirmed symptomatic foot OA and consulted a general practitioner in the last 12 months for foot pain were purposively sampled. Semistructured interviews explored the nature of the foot problem, help-seeking behaviors, and consultation experiences. Verbatim transcripts were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

RESULTS: The decision to consult a physician was often the outcome of a complex process influenced by quantitative and qualitative changes in symptoms, difficulty maintaining day-to-day roles and responsibilities and the effect this had on family and work colleagues, and a reluctance to present a fragile or aging self to the outside world. Self-management was commonly negotiated alongside multimorbidities. Upon seeking help, participants often believed they received limited information, they were given a brief or even cursory assessment, and that treatment was focused on the prescription of analgesic drugs.

CONCLUSION: This is the first qualitative study of primary care experiences among patients with symptomatic foot OA. The experience of primary care seldom appeared to move beyond a label of arthritis and an unwelcome emphasis on pharmacologic treatment.

    Research areas

  • Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Foot Diseases, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Osteoarthritis, Patient Satisfaction, Primary Health Care, Qualitative Research, Referral and Consultation

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  • Thomas and Moore et al 2013 - Someone to say come on we can sort this

    Rights statement: © 2013 The Authors. Arthritis Care & Research is published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

    Final published version, 62.1 KB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND


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