Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a common condition in children affecting motor coordination with resulting impacts on academic performance and activities of daily living. Literature surrounding intervention has focused mostly on physical and occupational therapies, however it is known that children with DCD are seen clinically by podiatrists due to abnormalities in gait and lower limb functioning. This presentation combines current clinical knowledge and practices of Australian podiatrists and children with DCD and the outcomes of a systematic review of differences in gait between children with and without DCD.
A single-round survey, developed using SurveyMonkey®, was completed by a sample of Australian podiatrists through either online or paper means. Participants were asked about familiarity with DCD and depending on their response, were directed via skip logic to questions on presentation, assessment and management of DCD. Participants were also asked about willingness to receive further education on DCD. Descriptive statistics were used to present the data. A concurrent systematic review following PRISMA guidelines was conducted.
365 Australian podiatrists completed the survey. 30% reported familiarity with DCD, while 67% reported familiarity with alternate and outdated terminology. Those familiar showed good knowledge of signs and symptoms associated with DCD. Both familiar and unfamiliar participants favoured referral to other health professionals over completing assessments. Common podiatric management strategies such as footwear advice, orthoses, and strength training were the most frequently chosen by both groups, despite footwear and orthoses having no current evidence base for DCD. Participants were willing to receive education on DCD through a range of both online and in-person mediums. Through the systematic review, children with DCD were found to have reduced endurance and cardiorespiratory fitness than their typically developing peers.
Discussion and Clinical Relevance:
Lower endurance and fitness levels may contribute to the reduced participation of children with DCD. A majority of Australian podiatrists were unfamiliar with DCD, despite its prevalence and symptomology which falls within the podiatric scope. However, participants overwhelmingly showed willingness to receive education on DCD. Further research is required to establish the role of podiatrists in the assessment and management of children with DCD.