Abstract

Background
Lower limb venous disease can cause significant pain, loss of mobility, and can be detrimental to an individual’s quality of life. Manifestations of venous disease often pose a substantially negative impact on patients and place a high demand on finite healthcare resources. Whilst this problem is internationally recognised, most research and discourse has predominantly focussed on treatment of leg ulceration and prevention of recurrence. Prevention of lower limb venous disease progression to the first ulceration has received far less attention. Overall, the care of this condition appears to rest in the domain of medicine and nursing yet podiatry, a profession with responsibility for the lower limb and foot, is conspicuous by its absence from the literature.
Methods
An ethnographic approach was used to gather data from 26 participants through observation, semi-structured interviews, and a focus group interview. Qualitative analysis was conducted using the framework approach.
Results
The findings revealed an identity crisis within the podiatry profession. Evidence emerged of ritual and routine practices that did not include lower limb venous disease. External control over practice limited the professional autonomy of podiatrists determining their own activities. Inter-professional relationships with nursing, and perceptions of boundaries that venous disease was a nursing role were also found to be limiting factors.
Conclusions
This research revealed that podiatry does not occupy a substantive role in contributing to the early identification and prevention of lower limb venous disease. Policy, education, research and practice changes are all required to enhance the contribution of podiatry to reduce the burden of this disease.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 31 Oct 2022

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