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VA research in action
Foot Function Index
February 21, 2020
Dr. Elly Budiman-Mak administers the Foot Function Index to Ron Hollingsead, who served in the Marines during the Vietnam War. (Photo by Daniel DuVerney/Hines Media Service)
In the 1980s, VA researchers developed a questionnaire to rate foot pain and disability. Today, it is in wide use across the world and has been translated into 20 languages.
The Foot Function Index asks patients 23 brief questions, each on a scale of 1 to 10. The questions are written in simple language to make it user-friendly to patients.
The measure has three parts. The first asks about pain, covering several situations: with or without shoes, for example, or in the morning versus the evening. The second part focuses on disability. It asks patients to rate their difficulty walking in different settings, and going up or down stairs. The third part asks about limits on activities. For example: “How much of the time do you stay in bed because of [pain in your feet]?”
A revised version of the index, developed in 2006, added some psychosocial questions, focusing on foot-related quality of life.
The index grew out of a VA-funded study to prevent arthritis foot deformity. The researchers, led by Dr. Elly Budiman-Mak with VA’s Center of Innovation for Complex Chronic Healthcare, wanted to be able to measure their patients’ outcomes. But no outcome measure for foot health and functioning existed at the time, so they created their own.
Principal investigator: Dr. Elly Budiman-Mak, Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital
The Foot Function Index: a measure of foot pain and disability. Budiman-Mak E, Conrad KJ, Roach KE. J Clin Epidemiol. 1991;44(6):561-70.
The Foot Function Index for measuring rheumatoid arthritis pain: evaluating side-to-side reliability. Saag KG, Saltzman CL, Brown CK, Budiman-Mak E. Foot Ankle Int. 1996 Aug;17(8):506-10.
Theoretical model and Rasch analysis to develop a revised Foot Function Index. Budiman-Mak E, Conrad K, Stuck R, Matters M. Foot Ankle Int. 2006 Jul;27(7):519-27.
A review of the foot function index and the foot function index-revised. Budiman-Mak E, Conrad KJ, Mazza J, Stuck RM. J Foot Ankle Res. 2013 Feb 1;6(1):5.