The Impacts of Anxiety and Depression on Outcomes in Foot and Ankle Surgery

In February 2023, Dr. Dominic Carreira presented an overview of his research on the impacts of anxiety and depression on outcomes in foot and ankle surgery as part of Foot Innovate’s ongoing education for foot and ankle surgeons.

The impacts of anxiety and depression article in FAI

Key Research Findings on the Impacts of Anxiety and Depression on Outcomes in Foot and Ankle Surgery

As part of a Foot Innovate online webinar, Dominic and his research team presented on how mental health affects procedure outcomes, drawing on their recent publication in Foot & Ankle International (FAI), is the official journal of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS).

The key research findings are detailed below:

  • Depression and anxiety are common clinical diagnoses, and a large proportion of patients with musculoskeletal pain report heightened depressive or anxious symptoms.
  • The link between anxiety and depression and inferior surgical outcomes is well-established across orthopedic subspecialties.
  • A detailed review of new literature found that patients with foot and ankle pain experience higher rates of anxiety and depression.
  • Additionally, anxiety and depression are associated with greater preoperative pain and inferior postoperative pain-related and functional outcomes in patients undergoing foot and ankle surgery.
  • These findings highlight the need for greater focus on mental health treatment among foot and ankle patients; this need for greater focus on mental health treatment has been documented in other areas of orthopedics as well.
  • In summary, mental health can affect a patient’s experience of pain and surgery outcomes. As such, mental health management can be beneficial for orthopedic patients, especially patients undergoing surgery.
  • Future research is needed to understand how various grades of severity of anxiety and depression impact surgical outcomes, so that surgical screening tools may be used to identify good surgical candidates.

Research Paper: Available for Download

The paper that Daniel B. Shaw, BS, and Dominic S. Carreira, MD, co-authored is available below as a PDF download. It was originally published in Vol. 43 of Foot & Ankle International (FAI) in December 2022.

Download Research Paper (PDF)


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