Footwear is an important concern for people with gout, who often describe difficulty finding suitable footwear. Previous studies have identified footwear as a major concern for people with gout. The aim of this study was to carry out an exploration of the footwear experiences of people with gout.
A qualitative descriptive methodological approach was used for both data collection and analysis. A purposive sampling strategy was adopted with semi-structured interviews conducted, involving 11 participants with gout. Thematic analysis was employed to identify key meanings and patterns within the data.
Four key themes derived from interviews included; (1) comfort as a priority, (2) knowing what to buy, (3) knowing what to wear, and (4) challenges of different environments. Footwear comfort was of great importance and linked to characteristics of footwear, with uncomfortable footwear negatively influencing participation in daily activities. The balancing of comfort, appearance and cost, led to less options and reduced confidence when shoe shopping. Footwear use was further limited by the presence of foot tophi and flares, resulting in compromise of footwear choice. Environments such as formal settings and the workplace, led to different footwear requirements.
People with gout experience problems with footwear which can impact many aspects of life. Health care professionals should consider these footwear-related issues to help facilitate those with gout in finding appropriate footwear.