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Open Access Research article

What influences a patient’s decision to use custom-made orthopaedic shoes?

Jaap J van Netten12*, Pieter U Dijkstra13, Jan H B Geertzen1 and Klaas Postema1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Center for Rehabilitation, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands

2 Department of Surgery, Hospital Group Twente, Almelo, the Netherlands

3 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:92  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-92

Published: 8 June 2012

Abstract

Background

Despite potential benefits, some patients decide not to use their custom-made orthopaedic shoes (OS). Factors are known in the domains ‘usability’, ‘communication and service’, and ‘opinion of others’ that influence a patient’s decision to use OS. However, the interplay between these factors has never been investigated. The aim of this study was to explore the interplay between factors concerning OS, and the influences thereof on a patient’s decision to use OS.

Methods

A mixed-methods design was used, combining qualitative and quantitative data by means of sequential data analysis and triangulation. Priority was given to the qualitative part. Qualitative data was gathered with a semi-structured interview covering the three domains. Data was analysed using the framework approach. Quantitative data concerned the interplay between factors and determining a rank-order for the importance of factors of ‘usability’.

Results

A patient’s decision to use OS was influenced by various factors indicated as being important and by acceptance of their OS. Factors of ‘usability’ were more important than factors of ‘communication’; the ‘opinion of others’ was of limited importance. An improvement of walking was indicated as the most important factor of ‘usability’. The importance of other factors (cosmetic appearance and ease of use) was determined by reaching a compromise between these factors and an improvement of walking.

Conclusions

A patient’s decision to use OS is influenced by various factors indicated as being important and by acceptance of their OS. An improvement of walking is the most important factor of ‘usability’, the importance of other factors (cosmetic appearance and ease of use) is determined by reaching compromises between these factors and an improvement of walking. Communication is essential to gain insight in a patient’s acceptance and in the compromises they are willing to reach. This makes communication the key for clinicians to influence a patient’s decision to use OS.