The impact of foot problems on social participation in older people: protocol for a qualitative study

Gavin Wylie (Lead / Corresponding author), Jane Dickson, Anna Hatton, Stewart Morrison, Jacqui Morris

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Poor foot health is common in older people and negatively impacts on functional ability and undertaking activities of daily living. Social participation is defined as a person’s involvement in activities that provide interaction with others in the community, and is a well-recognised modifiable determinant for successful ageing. Although foot problems are prevalent in older people and are known to negatively influence social participation, it is not known exactly how foot problems influence social participation. Foot health is a component of healthy ageing, and social participation is an important dimension of quality of life; thus, there is an imperative to explore barriers and facilitators to social participation in older adults living with foot problems. Therefore, the aim of this study is to explore perceptions and experiences of social participation among community-dwelling older adults living with poor foot health.
The study will use qualitative methods via in-depth one-to-one interviews and focus groups from two data sources: older people with foot problems (in-depth interviews) and their significant others (focus groups). Participants will be recruited from podiatry clinics, GP practices, and community groups. A theoretical approach using the WHO International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health, and the common-sense model of illness representation will inform data collection and analysis. The framework approach will facilitate analysis.
The results of this study will uncover foot-related barriers and facilitators for social participation and will explore how these barriers may be overcome. The results of this study will inform strategies for improving foot health and social participation by understanding the challenges related to poor foot health and participating in social activities.
Previous work has shown that people living with foot problems related to connective tissue disorders and diabetes experience reduced social participation. However, these studies have not explored what the precise reasons for reduced social participation may be. This study will contribute important knowledge by exploring older peoples’ experiences of, and perceptions towards, foot problems and social participation. Such a process is critical in clarifying the problem so that effective interventions may be developed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2023
EventRoyal College of Podiatry Conference - Arena and Convention Centre, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Nov 202325 Nov 2023


ConferenceRoyal College of Podiatry Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • social participation
  • older people
  • foot health


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