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Open Access Research

Dermatology within the UK podiatric literature: a content analysis (1989-2010)

Ivan R Bristow* and Alan M Borthwick

Author Affiliations

Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK

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Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 2013, 6:21  doi:10.1186/1757-1146-6-21

Published: 24 May 2013

Abstract

Background

Although dermatology, as a medical subject, has been a facet of the training and education of podiatrists for many years, it is, arguably, only in recent years that the speciality of podiatric dermatology has emerged within the profession. Some indication of this gradual development may be identified through a content analysis of the podiatric literature in the UK, spanning a 21 year timeframe.

Method

6 key professional journals were selected for content analysis in order to provide a picture of the emergence and development of podiatric dermatology over a period extending from 1989 to 2010. Both syntactical and thematic unitization were deployed in the analysis, revealing both manifest and latent content. Categories were devised using a prior coding, a codebook produced to define relevant concepts and category characteristics, and the coding scheme subject to an assessment of reliability.

Results

1611 units appeared in the 6 journals across a 21 year timeframe. 88% (n = 1417) occurred in one journal (Podiatry Now and its predecessors). Modal categories within all journals included course adverts (n = 673), commercial adverts (n = 562) and articles by podiatrists (n = 133). There was an overall rise from 40 per annum in 1989, to over 100 in 2010. A wider range of dermatological topics were addressed, ranging from fungal nail infections to melanoma.

Conclusions

It is evident from this analysis that there has been an increasing focus on dermatology as a topic within the main podiatric journals in the UK over the last 21 years, primarily reflecting a rise in commercial advertising and an increase in academic dermatology related publications. Whilst earlier publications tended to focus on warts and fungal infections, more recent publications address a broader spectrum of topics. Changes in prescribing rights may be relevant to these findings, as may the enhanced professional and regulatory body requirements on continuing professional development.

Keywords:
Dermatology; Podiatry; History; Content analysis