The relationship between mental health and foot pain

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Butterworth, PA, Urquhart, DM, Cicuttini, FM, Menz, HB, Strauss, BJ, Proietto, J, Dixon, JB, Jones, G & Wluka, AE 2014, 'The relationship between mental health and foot pain', Arthritis Care & Research.

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Although mental health is related to the persistence of musculoskeletal pain, our understanding of the relationship between mental health and foot pain is limited. Subsequently, we conducted a three year longitudinal study to examine the relationship between mental health and foot pain in a community based population.


Eighty-three community dwelling participants (mean body mass index 35.3 kg/m2 ± 9.0) who had foot pain at study inception in 2008, and for whom measures of mental health (Mental Component Summary of the Short Form-36) were available, were invited to take part in this follow-up study in 2011. Change in foot pain was determined by the difference between the Manchester Foot Pain and Disability Index score at baseline and follow up; therefore, a decrease in the score indicates improved foot pain and an increase indicates deterioration in foot pain. Linear regression was used to determine the factors affecting change in foot pain.


Of the 62 respondents (75% response rate, 49 females and 13 males), there were 27 (44%) whose foot pain deteriorated. A higher Mental Component Summary score of the Short Form-36 at baseline was associated with a slower progression of foot pain (beta coefficient -0.29, 95% confidence interval -0.42 to -0.01); adjusted for age, sex, body mass index and physical health.


Mental health is associated with changes in foot pain. Clinicians dealing with this population should consider the contribution of mental health in their management and treatment of foot pain. © 2014 American College of Rheumatology.

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