A qualitative study to explore patients’ perceptions of their postoperative outcomes following forefoot surgery.

Lorelle Dismore, Anna Van Wersch, R Critchley, A Murty, Katherine Swainston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Hallux valgus and hallux rigidus are two common forefoot conditions causing deformity, pain, functional limitations, disability and deteriorating health status resulting in the requirement for surgery. Even when surgery is performed by an experienced surgeon there remains a potential for patients to experience dissatisfaction and unfavourable outcomes. Adverse results are moderated by psychosocial variables, however there is a paucity of qualitative research providing insight into how patients perceive their outcomes and the factors affecting their recovery.
Objective: The study aimed to qualitatively explore patients’ perceptions of their surgical outcomes following forefoot surgery and factors associated with their recovery. Semi-structured interviews with fifteen patients who received surgery for hallux valgus and/or hallux rigidus were conducted.
Results: Thematic analysis generated five themes; physical limitations, the psychosocial impact of surgical recovery, regaining normality, patients’ expectations for physical recovery and an altered body-image. Physical and psychosocial factors were inter-related. Patients experiencing problematic outcomes were functionally limited, had low mood and were unable to return to a normal life post-surgery. The women reported weight related issues and were limited in their footwear and clothing choices; negatively impacting on their self-esteem.
Conclusion: A forefoot condition is multifaceted, with patients experiencing a range of physical and psychological factors that may influence their outcomes and recovery from surgery. Patients need to be supported holistically with the use of a biopsychosocial model. A multidisciplinary approach to care and treatment within the forefoot surgical pathway with the inclusion of allied health professionals will enable us to better support patients to enhance their outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Pain
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29 Oct 2021


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