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Why is research connected to the ankle overlooked?

Q) I've suffered from chronic arthritic pain in my ankles for the past five years. Despite physiotherapy, acupuncture, etc, nothing seems to work. One very rarely reads or hears about any research connected with the ankle. Could you explain why this particular part of the leg is overlooked?
Mrs E Johnston, Ilkley, West Yorkshire (Summer 2007) 

A) About 90 per cent of people with rheumatoid arthritis have foot and ankle problems yet this area is neglected in the clinic and the laboratory. Why is this? There are barriers to examining this area in clinic as people are often reluctant to take their footwear off (sometimes because it's such a struggle) and the foot hasn't been a traditional research area in rheumatology. Fortunately, Arthritis Research UK and the British Society for Rheumatology have recently invested money into this area both from a research and an educational point of view, so watch out in future for new developments. And modesty discourages me from telling you that the Leeds team have published a new book on the foot and ankle for clinicians – copies available from online shops!

For more information, go to or call 0300 790 0400 to order the complete printed booklet.
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.