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OBJECTIVE: Osteoarthritis (OA) is a heterogeneous disease, and symptom progression at the foot is unclear. This study investigated the symptomatic course of 3 predefined foot OA phenotypes over an 18-month period. METHODS: The Clinical Assessment Study of the Foot is a community-based cohort of adults ages ≥50 years in North Staffordshire, UK. Participants who reported foot pain in a postal health survey and underwent radiographic assessment were mailed an 18-month followup survey. Changes in descriptive and symptomatic outcomes over 18 months were compared across the 3 phenotypes to determine within-phenotype changes and between-phenotype differences. RESULTS: Of 533 participants at baseline, 478 (89.7%) responded at 18 months. All 3 phenotypes showed small within-phenotype improvements in mean foot pain severity (scale range 0-10, where 0 = no pain and 10 = worst pain): no or minimal foot OA (18 months 4.0, mean change -1.15 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) -1.46, -0.83]), isolated first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint OA (18 months 4.1, mean change -0.60 [95% CI -1.11, -0.10]), and polyarticular foot OA (18 months 5.1, mean change -0.77 [95% CI -1.42, -0.12]). The isolated first MTP joint OA phenotype had an increased likelihood of hallux valgus in the left foot (adjusted odds ratio 2.96 [95% CI 1.23, 7.12]) compared to the no or minimal foot OA phenotype. CONCLUSION: Three foot OA phenotypes showed few descriptive or symptomatic changes over 18 months. Future clinical trials should consider that people recruited with mild-to-moderate symptomatic foot OA appear likely to remain relatively stable with usual care. Longer-term followup using additional time points is required to describe further the natural history of foot OA.

Original publication




Journal article


Arthritis care res (hoboken)

Publication Date





1107 - 1112


Aged, Arthralgia, Cohort Studies, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Foot, Humans, Independent Living, Male, Middle Aged, Osteoarthritis, Phenotype, Prospective Studies, Time Factors