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Conference Reports

Conference Reports


Conference Report by Dr Lisa Newcombe, Glasgow Caledonian University  

In November 2018, I was successfully awarded with an early research career travel bursary from the Research, Development and Innovation Committee, College of Podiatry. I am currently a lecturer in podiatry in Glasgow Caledonian University, and since completing my PhD in the area of foot involvement in early rheumatoid arthritis, which was a prospective ultrasound study, I am now in the early stages of my research career. I am very grateful to the committee for my travel bursary, which allowed me the opportunity to attend and present my research at the 2018 Bournemouth College of Podiatry annual conference.

I was grateful to have my abstract accepted as a poster presentation, which further provided me with an opportunity to disseminate the work from myself and my research team (Mr Allan Thomson, Professor Jim Woodburn and Dr Ruth Barn) from Glasgow Caledonian University, titled ‘Reliability of musculoskeletal ultrasound in the assessment of osteoarthritis of the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint’. 

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Poster presentation from Dr Lisa Newcombe on 'Reliability of musculoskeletal ultrasound in the assessment of osteoarthritis of the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint'.

I further enjoyed being able to view other poster presentations, network and discuss similar research with other presenters, colleagues and experts in the field. Dedicated poster sessions may further enhance these opportunities. Poster presentations by Dr Ruth Barn, Aimee Patience and Dr Gordon Hendry in the fields of rheumatoid arthritis, footwear and foot health, respectively, were of particular interest.  

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Poster presentation from Dr Ruth Barn on 'Response to targeted mechanical and inflammatory intervention in tibialis posterior tenosynovitis and associated pes plano valgus in rheumatoid arthritis'.

Further, through full attendance at the conference, I was able to attend many sessions relevant to my areas of interest, which allowed me to develop and maintain currency in my knowledge, for use in teaching, research and clinical practice. I was further grateful to be able to attend the conference as part of my research team from Glasgow Caledonian University and to engage with our students and staff alike. It was fantastic to see so many students engaged with the latest research and advances in the profession, beyond the level of their studies.

In terms of conference sessions this year, I was delighted to see so many new researchers presenting their innovative work in respective fields with many presentations underpinned by high quality emerging research, delivered by the expert in the field.  Key sessions which were of particular interest for me were fourfold and included:

1) Joanne Hurst’s Jewel in the Crown plenary presentation on ‘Data linkage and geospatial mapping exposes inequalities in outcomes for diabetic foot disease in Glasgow’. Data presented throughout this eye-opening presentation was of utmost importance to the field, and with vast underpinning from big data, stands as an excellent example of evidence-based knowledge transfer, which was excellent to see at the conference and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

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Joanne Hurst's Jewel in the Crown plenary presentation on 'Data linkage and geospatial mapping

2) Professor Jim Woodburn’s plenary presentation on ‘Trends and inequalities in outcomes for diabetic foot disease in Glasgow: The role of big data’. This was another inspirational talk underpinned by big data and world leading in this field. It was motivating to see the impact that this work will have on the holistic management of foot health in patients in this field. 

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Professor Jim Woodburn's plenary presentation on 'Trends and inequalities in outcomes for diabetic foot disease in Glasgow: The role of big data'.

3) The concurrent session on ultrasound imaging, chaired by Heidi Siddle, with Jai Saxelby delivering an important presentation on ‘Optimising your ultrasound images for musculoskeletal foot and ankle problems’ and Simon Richards and Pasha Normahani presenting in the area of vascular ultrasound assessment. This presentation was very well attended and it was great to see so many podiatrists interested in CASE (Consortium for the Accreditation of Sonographic Education) accredited ultrasound training for use of diagnostic ultrasound in clinical practice. With this interest in mind, Jai’s presentation highlighting the importance of such training and need for clinician understanding of the physics behind optimising the machine for safe use in practice, was timely and of great importance. Here, key settings for image optimisation were discussed for musculoskeletal imaging, with an emphasis on how machine settings can significantly alter the ultrasound image, and thus lead to errors in clinical diagnosis, compromising patient safety, if settings are incorrect. It was further excellent to hear from Simon Richards, from CASE and his insights about the use of diagnostic ultrasound in podiatry and vascular assessment. Both Simon and Heidi were available with enthusiasm to discuss appropriate training with all interested delegates.

4) Karl Landorf’s plenary presentation on ‘Plantar heel pain imaging across all modalities’. I found this presentation to be of great interest, in comparing plantar fascia imaging between x-ray, MRI and ultrasound modalities, though unfortunately the elastography data was not ready at time of presentation. Insightful findings were presented around features of plantar heel pain on imaging, where the importance of bone marrow oedema was highlighted, stimulating questions around appropriateness of current management strategies.

Sessions which stood out for me, in terms of the quality of evidence-based knowledge transfer, were the short papers session on diabetes (B9) and the short papers session on research (A8). In the well-attended diabetes session, key highlights included presentations from 1) Jodi Binning on her clinically innovative doctoral work on motivational interviewing as an intervention to improve adherence behaviours for the prevention of diabetic foot ulceration and 2) Professor Woodburn on his interesting work from a randomized crossover study, on virtually optimised foot orthoses for off-loading the diabetic foot. This session further included interesting presentations from colleagues in Malta university, from Dr Formosa and Dr Gatt, on thermographic presentations of peripheral arterial disease and mortality and foot morbidity following minor foot amputations, in patients with diabetes.  Dr Siddle and Simbarashe Tanyanyiwa further presented insightful work in the field of diabetes, on morbidity of the contralateral limb in major amputations and nerve conduction studies, respectively. 

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Jodi Binning presenting on 'Motivational interviewing as an intervention to improve adherence behaviours for the prevention of diabetic foot ulceration'
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Professor Woodburn presenting on 'Virtually optimised foot orthoses for off-loading the diabetic foot: A randomized Crossover Study'

In the short papers session on research, I was pleased to see this session, with a diverse range of evidence informed presentations delivered by both early and established researchers, so well attended. A key highlight was a presentation from Dr Gordon Hendry, on results from the treadon feasibility and pilot study, investigating process evaluation of prefabricated foot orthoses and exercise interventions for plantar heel pain delivered by podiatrists and physiotherapists. This work found interventions to be acceptable to patients and clinicians with some training needs identified by physiotherapists for providing foot orthoses. Dr Hendry also facilitated a research and development masterclass on effective researching during a concurrent workshop, with insights into the challenges of patient recruitment in the clinical setting, emphasising the importance of implementing monitoring and early warning systems with contingency recruitment methods.  

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Dr Gordon Hendry presenting on 'Process evaluation of prefabricated foot orthoses and exercise interventions for plantar heel pain delivered by podiatrists and physiotherapists: Results from the treadon feasibility and pilot study'

Further key highlights for me included Beverley Harden’s (AHP Lead from Health Education England) plenary presentation on ‘Podiatry workforce – a burning platform…’. I found this presentation extremely inspirational as an educator, where the joint responsibility of all podiatrists, to interest and recruit future students into the profession was highlighted. I thoroughly enjoyed this speaker’s clear enthusiasm for this cause, with a well delivered presentation, underpinned with clinical data.

I was further able to attend one concurrent session (C3) in the field of musculoskeletal rheumatology. I was keen to update my knowledge of foot involvement in connective tissue disease. All talks in this session were clinically focused with interesting overviews of vascular pathologies of the foot, further lower limb clinical manifestations and digital ulceration in systemic sclerosis. This session highlighted the importance of continued podiatry input for ‘at risk’ patients with a range of connective tissue diseases. Also in the field of rheumatology, during the opening plenary session for the conference, Dr Shannon Munteanu provided an informative overview of osteoarthritis affecting the 1st metatarsophalangeal joint, which with links to research outcomes using an MRI imaging atlas, I found of particular interest.

On the final day of the conference, I attended the award presentations. I offer my congratulations to all winners and was delighted to see Caroline Walker from Glasgow Caledonian University shortlisted for the Undergraduate Research Prize.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience at the conference and I am grateful for this opportunity to further my development as an early career researcher. I look forward to attending this conference in future, with more research focused sessions with diversity in range and experience of speakers, to inform new and refined innovations for use in clinical practice, research and education.   

College of Podiatry bursary winner report

Aimie Patience – PhD student and research associate at Glasgow Caledonian University

The College of Podiatry annual conference had a really interesting mix of keynote speakers and sessions which ensured there was content for everyone attending. Diabetes and vascular podiatry certainly took centre stage with an entertaining and thought-provoking debate about the role of podiatry in the prevention of lower limb amputation and research from Glasgow Caledonian University around social deprivation and frank inequality in diabetic foot disease in Glasgow by PhD student Joanne Hurst and Professor Jim Woodburn.

For those interested in rheumatology and musculoskeletal health, the MSK:UK session was a brilliant insight into the future of biomechanics research. Dr John Arnold presented the ongoing research into the biomechanics of the highly prevalent midfoot osteoarthritis which still presents a clinical challenge. Finally Zach Walshman, a PHD student at the University of Leeds, discussed the clinical implications and potential role of biomechanical foot models in podiatry.

As a podiatrist and PhD student the Research Student Network session is consistently a conference highlight. During this session Joanne Hurst was awarded the prize for the College of Podiatry’s three minute thesis competition and Dr Karl Landorf and Professor Catherine Bowen shared valuable knowledge and insight into getting your research published and recognised.  The relaxed environment in this session meant both speakers were able to engage with the audience in a Q&A session after the presentations to provide honest, helpful feedback to our clinical research questions.

I would like to thank the College of Podiatry’s Research and Development Committee for the opportunity to attend the conference through the bursary scheme. I urge all early career researchers to apply for this funding opportunity and I look forward to next year’s conference in Harrogate.