Members of the research department at the Orthopaedic Hospital are celebrating after winning an industry-recognised award, which has led to a change of practice at the hospital.

The team won the West Midlands Clinical Research Network Clinical Research Impact Award for their work on the Fused Ankle Shoe Trial (FAST), as well as being highly commended in the Overall Performance category, at an awards ceremony in Birmingham.

The FAST study looked at 14 patients who had undergone ankle fusion surgery, and would typically have been referred to the hospital’s orthotic department for a custom-made pair of shoes with a curved sole, which would cost about £200.

However, instead of just looking at orthotic shoes as an option, as part of the trial patients were examined in the gait laboratory at the Orthopaedic wearing orthotic shoes with a curved sole, as well as branded shoes Skechers and MBT shoes which also had curved soles.

The study found, based on the speed and how patients walked, the branded shoes were better for the patients than the specially-made orthotic shoes.

The trial was the brainchild of Patrick Laing, an orthopaedic surgeon who is an honorary consultant at the hospital.

Mr Laing said: “I’m absolutely delighted the FAST study won this prestigious award, and with it resulting in a change of practice. It would be great to see this rolled out elsewhere across the country – it makes perfect sense. Not only is it more cost effective but it has led to better patient outcomes from what we’ve seen so far.”

Sarah Turner, research project manager at the Orthopaedic, said: “We’re thrilled and immensely proud to have not only won an award but to have also been highly commended.

“The work carried out as part of the FAST study has actually led to orthotics changing their practice here, which is just fantastic and exactly why this sort of research is important.

”It was a real multi-disciplinary team effort, with work undertaken by not only the research team but also orthotics and ORLAU.

Teresa Jones, research manager at the Orthopaedic, added: “The FAST study is a good example of cross-department teamwork achieving a result. This change in practice shows exactly how research leads to change and becomes best practice. The next challenge is a larger multi-centre study to change practice across the NHS. It’s good to see the Orthopaedic leading the way.”