Anna Anderson – Does rehabilitation care before and after orthopaedic ankle surgery meet patients’ needs?
“This award provides an invaluable opportunity to undertake clinical research, with the ultimate aim of improving patient outcomes. Undertaking this research will provide me with new skills, experiences and networking opportunities that I hope to use as a platform for pursuing a career in musculoskeletal applied health research.“
Profession & current role
I currently work as a musculoskeletal physiotherapist and treat people with a diverse range of conditions such as osteoarthritis, low back pain and tendinopathies. I am particularly interested in lower limb conditions and promoting health behaviour change. I believe that education and exercise play a vital role in helping people prepare for surgery, recovery from surgery/injury and manage long-term conditions.
Employer (at the time of the award)
University of Leeds
Title of study
Does rehabilitation care before and after orthopaedic ankle surgery meet patients’ needs?
Will this research influence your future research activity?
Yes, definitely. I am hoping to use the new skills and experience I will gain through this research as a platform for pursuing a career in musculoskeletal applied health research. My short-term goal is to undertake a PhD focused on improving pre-operative orthopaedic care. This research is highly relevant to my proposed PhD project and will provide me with an opportunity to work with experts in musculoskeletal applied health research.
Summary of Research
Approximately 3000 people with end-stage ankle arthritis undergo total ankle replacement or ankle arthrodesis each year in the UK, yet outcomes vary and failure/revision rates are higher than for hip and knee replacements. A recent audit in Leeds suggested patients undergoing total ankle replacement or ankle arthrodesis receive limited rehabilitation care. Extensive evidence supports the role of rehabilitation in improving patients’ post-surgical outcomes and overall experiences of hip and knee replacement surgery. The limited rehabilitation care provided to patients undergoing total ankle replacement or ankle arthrodesis is therefore a major concern.
This study will investigate this issue through exploring patients’ experiences of rehabilitation care before and after total ankle replacement and ankle arthrodesis surgery. This will include establishing whether current rehabilitation care meets patients’ needs and how this influences patients’ post-surgical outcomes.
Semi-structured interviews will be conducted with eight participants who have undergone total ankle replacement or ankle arthrodesis. Participants will be purposefully selected based on their surgical outcome and gender. The interviews will explore participants’ clinical characteristics, the rehabilitation care they received pre- and post-surgery, participants’ perceptions of their rehabilitation care and their overall experiences of surgery. Data will be analysed using thematic analysis. The research will be disseminated through submission to professional journals/conferences, provision of plain English summaries to all participants and presentation of the findings to the Leeds Biomedical Research Centre Patient and Public Involvement group.
The findings of this research will provide an in-depth insight into current orthopaedic ankle surgery rehabilitation care and identify whether this care meets patients’ needs. This will provide vital information for guiding future care provision and highlight priorities for future research.
One Year Update – November 2018
The aim of this project is to gain an insight into patients’ views of ankle replacement and ankle arthrodesis (fusion) surgery. We are just in the process of completing the ethics application process and are planning to start interviewing patients who have undergone these procedures in early December. The interviews will explore patients’ personal experiences of having ankle surgery and the information and exercise advice they received before and after their surgery. We plan to use the findings to help improve care for patients undergoing ankle replacement and ankle arthrodesis surgery. We hope the findings will also be useful for guiding future research in this area.
How this award has helped my research career / confidence
Although my project is still ongoing, undertaking this award has already enabled me to gain a lot of new skills through activities such as writing the protocol, organising study management committee meetings and liaising with patient representatives. This experience helped me gain my current role as a Research Associate working on a feasibility study investigating peer mentorship for osteoarthritis. It has also been really valuable for helping me apply for a PhD.