La Trobe
1195016_Cotchett,M_2022.pdf (791.8 kB)
Download file

Psychological factors associated with foot and ankle pain: a mixed methods systematic review

Download (791.8 kB)
Background: Foot and ankle pain is common, and generally viewed through a biomedical lens rather than applying a biopsychosocial model. The objectives of this review were to evaluate: (1) the psychosocial characteristics of participants with foot/ankle pain compared to participants without foot/ankle pain; (2) the association between psychosocial factors with pain and function in people with foot/ankle pain; and (3) understand the psychosocial factors associated with the lived experience of foot/ankle pain. Methods: A mixed methods systematic review was conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines and guided by the Joanna Briggs Institute methodology for mixed methods systematic reviews. The databases MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, PsychInfo, and Scopus were searched. The Mixed Methods Assessment Tool was used to evaluate study quality. A convergent segregated approach was used to synthesise and integrate quantitative and qualitative data. Results: Eighteen studies were included, consisting of 13 quantitative, 4 qualitative and 1 mixed methods study. The overall quality of the studies was considered high. Integration of the quantitative and qualitative data were not possible due to the disparate nature of the included studies. A narrative synthesis of the quantitative data revealed that negative emotional and cognitive factors were more common in people with foot/ankle pain compared to those without foot/ankle pain. A significant association was also found between emotional distress with foot pain and foot function in some people with plantar heel pain. In addition, kinesiophobia and pain catastrophising were significantly associated with impaired foot function, and pain catastrophising was significantly associated with first step pain in people with plantar heel pain. The qualitative data revealed emotional impacts, physical challenges, and a loss of self which was individual and unpredictable. Conclusions: This review provides evidence that negative psychological constructs are greater in participants with foot/ankle pain compared to those without foot/ankle pain, although the cross-sectional nature of the study designs included in this review reduces the certainty of the evidence. These findings indicate that psychological constructs are associated with foot/ankle pain. Further research should evaluate the predictive ability of multidimensional screening tools to identify patients at risk of developing persistent foot/ankle pain.


Publication Date



Journal of foot and ankle research





Article Number








Rights Statement

© The Author(s) 2022. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence: The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Usage metrics