“Substantial flaws” trip up big toe paper

rehabRehabilitation Research and Practice has retracted a 2012 review article on stiff big toes.

The article, “Therapeutic Management of the Hallux Rigidus,” came from a group in India. According to the abstract:

Hallux rigidus is a chronic, disabling condition of foot characterized by reduced great toe extension. The manual therapy approaches are described theoretically however their practical published evidence has not been analyzed well. Objective. Aim of the present paper was to systematically review the literature available for therapeutic management of the hallux rigidus by identifying and evaluating the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-RCTs. Methods. To view the hallux rigidus and its rehabilitation, a webbased published literature search of Pubmed, Ovid Medline, Science direct, Cochrane Database, PEDro database, CINAHL was conducted for last 35 years in August 2010 using 4 specific keywords “hallux rigidus, physical therapy, chiropractic, and manual therapy” typed in exactly same manner in the search column of the databases. Result. the review finds that there is acute need of the quality studies and RCTs for the manual therapy, chiropractic, or physiotherapeutic management of the hallux rigidus. Conclusion. Review conclude that conservative programs for hallux rigidus consists of comprehensive intervention program that includes great toe mobilization, toe flexor strengthening, sesamoid bones mobilization and long MTP joint. The clinician should put an emphasis on the mobilization program with proper follow up along with comparative studies for rehabilitation of hallux rigidus.

But according to the retraction notice, the researchers failed at, well, Review Writing 101.

The paper titled “Therapeutic Management of the Hallux Rigidus” [1], published in Rehabilitation Research and Practice, has been retracted as it was found to contain substantial flaws in its scientific methodology.

Frankly, we’re not sure what “scientific methodology” the authors might have be-flawed. Did they in fact mistype the search terms, contrary to what they declared? Neither the editors nor the journal have responded to requests for comment, but we’ll update with anything we learn.

3 thoughts on ““Substantial flaws” trip up big toe paper”

  1. I suspect it is a euphemism for plagiarism. I took a sentence of the retracted paper at random: “Patients with grade-4 hallux rigidus or grade-3 hallux rigidus with less than 50% of the metatarsal head cartilage remaining at the time of surgery should be treated with arthrodesis”

    This, Google reveals, is taken verbatim from a 2003 paper: http://www.arthrosurface.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Coughlin_Halux-Rigidus_JBJS_2003.pdf

    Presumably the rest of the paper is “not 100% original” either.

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