Dr Martin Spink
School of Health Sciences (Podiatry)
- Phone:(02) 4349 4418
Dr. Martin Spink is a Lecturer in the discipline of Podiatry in the Faculty of Medicine and Health, and is based at the Central Coast campus at Ourimbah. Martin joined the University of Newcastle in 2012 and engages in research projects investigating the diabetic foot and musculoskeletal complications. He also currently teaches the Musculoskeletal, Geriatric and Podiatric Surgery courses.
Before joining the university Martin worked in private practice in Melbourne for five years. Prior to retraining as a podiatrist Martin spent 15 years working in a variety of roles in the IT industry in both the UK and Australia including computer programming, analysis and project management.
Martin was awarded a PhD in 2012 from La Trobe University, Melbourne for his work involving the relationship of foot problems to falls and balance, and podiatry interventions to prevent falls. The primary focus was a randomised trial with over 300 participants entitled “Effectiveness of a multifaceted podiatry intervention to prevent falls in community dwelling older people with disabling foot pain.” This trial was the first to establish that routine and inexpensive podiatry interventions could reduce falls in older people by 36%, and the findings were published in the British Medical Journal (Spink et al.2011).
Dr Martin Spink’s current research focus is on musculoskeletal problems in various populations and includes the following trials:
- Investigating the efficacy of a stretching program in increasing ankle range of motion and decreasing plantar pressures in people with diabetes
- Assessing the impact of orthotic intervention in people with chronic lower back pain
- Establishing the prevalence of running injuries in recreational runners and factors predisposing to injury
- Measuring the relationship of foot posture, muscle strength and plantar pressure and their possible effect as injury risk factors in the paediatric population
Dr Martin Spink coordinates three podiatry courses: PDTY2203 Musculoskeletal and Sports Podiatry, PDTY3102 Podiatric Surgery and PDTY3203 Specialised Podiatry Practice. Martin’s roles as a lecturer, tutor and clinical supervisor allow him to work with students in both classroom and clinic settings to develop their competency as podiatrists. His courses highlight the latest evidence based diagnostic and treatment options for commonly seen podiatry presentations such as foot pain, sports injuries and falls prevention in the elderly. He encourages students to develop the critical review and analysis skills they will need to support their life-long learning as podiatrists.
Dr Martin Spink received a Faculty Teaching and Learning award (2016) for his work in the integration of innovative blended learning and case-based teaching strategies to engage and motivate students in the area of musculoskeletal Podiatry practice. This involved the development of an iPad based radiology teaching resource with interactive learning activities.
Dr Spink is a member of the Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at the University of Newcastle.
- Doctor of Philosophy, La Trobe University
- Bachelor of Arts (Honours), University of East Anglia - UK
- Bachelor of Podiatry, La Trobe University
- Bachelor of Podiatry (Hons), La Trobe University
- Falls and balance
- Musculoskeletal assessment and rehabilitation
- English (Fluent)
Fields of Research
|110308||Geriatrics and Gerontology||30|
Faculty of Health and Medicine Teaching and Learning award
University of Newcastle
Australasian Podiatry Conference Best Poster Award for emerging researcher
University of Newcastle
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Journal article (25 outputs)
Johnson NA, Barwick AL, Searle A, Spink MJ, Twigg SM, Chuter VH, 'Self-reported physical activity in community-dwelling adults with diabetes and its association with diabetes complications', Journal of Diabetes and its Complications, 33 33-38 (2019) [C1]
© 2018 Elsevier Inc. Aims: To describe the physical activity levels of an Australian community-based adult population with diabetes, and investigate the interaction between diabet... [more]
© 2018 Elsevier Inc. Aims: To describe the physical activity levels of an Australian community-based adult population with diabetes, and investigate the interaction between diabetes complications and physical activity. Methods: Anthropometric, demographic, biochemical and self-reported physical activity measures (IPAQ) were performed. Associations and multiple regression analyses were undertaken between physical activity, known risk factors for diabetes complications, and history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), neuropathy and foot ulceration obtained from medical records. Results: 240 participants were recruited (96% type 2 diabetes; age 68.7 ± 10.5 y; 58% men; diabetes duration 14.3 ± 11.4 y). Sixty seven percent of participants reported undertaking moderate or vigorous intensity exercise to recommended levels, and 29% reported no moderate-vigorous exercise. In addition to being associated with known demographic and biochemical risk factors and other complications, diabetes complications were also associated with different physical activity behaviours. Individuals with a history of CVD were more likely to participate in moderate-vigorous exercise and meet exercise guidelines, individuals with neuropathy undertook less walking and moderate intensity exercise, and those with a history of foot ulceration sat more and participated less in vigorous exercise. Conclusions: In Australian adults, the presence of diabetes complications may influence physical activity participation, and associate with characteristic physical activity approaches.
Searle A, Spink MJ, Chuter VH, 'Weight bearing versus non-weight bearing ankle dorsiflexion measurement in people with diabetes: a cross sectional study', BMC MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS, 19 (2018) [C1]
Searle A, Spink MJ, Chuter VH, 'Validation of a weight bearing ankle equinus value in older adults with diabetes', Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, 11 (2018) [C1]
Menz HB, Auhl M, Spink MJ, 'Foot problems as a risk factor for falls in community-dwelling older people: A systematic review and meta-analysis', Maturitas, 118 7-14 (2018) [C1]
© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Background: Foot problems are common in older people. The objective of this systematic review was to determine whether foot problems increase the risk of fall... [more]
© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Background: Foot problems are common in older people. The objective of this systematic review was to determine whether foot problems increase the risk of falling in community-dwelling older people. Methods: Electronic databases were searched from inception to May 2018. To be eligible for inclusion, papers needed to (i) include community-dwelling older participants, (ii) document falls either retrospectively or prospectively, and (iii) document or assess the presence of foot problems. Screening and data extraction were performed by two independent assessors, with disagreements resolved by consensus. Results: A total of 146 papers were screened by title and abstract, and nine met the inclusion criteria. An additional six eligible papers were identified by searching the reference lists of included papers, resulting in a total of 15 papers. Quantitative synthesis indicated that older people who fell were more likely to have foot pain, hallux valgus, lesser toe deformity, plantar fasciitis, reduced ankle dorsiflexion range of motion, reduced toe plantarflexion strength, impaired tactile sensitivity and increased plantar pressures when walking. Meta-analysis indicated that fallers were more likely to have foot pain (pooled odds ratio [OR] 1.95, 95% CI 1.38¿2.76, p < 0.001), hallux valgus (pooled OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.19¿3.00, p = 0.007) and lesser toe deformity (pooled OR 1.67, 95% CI 1.07¿2.59, p = 0.020). Conclusion: Foot problems, particularly foot pain, hallux valgus and lesser toe deformity, are associated with falls in older people. Documentation of foot problems and referral to foot care specialists should therefore be a routine component of falls risk assessment and prevention.
Searle A, Spink MJ, Chuter VH, 'Prevalence of ankle equinus and correlation with foot plantar pressures in people with diabetes', Clinical Biomechanics, 60 39-44 (2018) [C1]
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Background: An association between equinus and plantar pressure may be important for people with diabetes, as elevated plantar pressure has been linked with fo... [more]
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Background: An association between equinus and plantar pressure may be important for people with diabetes, as elevated plantar pressure has been linked with foot ulcer development. To determine the prevalence of equinus in community dwelling people with diabetes and to examine any association between presence of equinus and forefoot plantar pressures. Methods: Barefoot (Tekscan HR Mat¿) and in-shoe (Novel Pedar-X®) plantar pressure variables, non-weight bearing ankle range of motion and neuropathy status were assessed in 136 adults with diabetes (52.2% male; 47.8% with neuropathy; mean (standard deviation) age and diabetes duration: 68.4 (11.5) and 14.6 (11.1) years respectively). Findings: Equinus, when measured as =5° dorsiflexion, was present in 66.9% of the cohort. There was a significant correlation between an equinus and barefoot (r = 0.247, p = 0.004) and in-shoe forefoot pressure time integrals (r = 0.214, p = 0.012) and in-shoe forefoot alternate pressure time integrals (r = 0.246, p = 0.004). Significantly more males (p < 0.01) and people with neuropathy (p = 0.02) or higher glycated haemoglobin levels (p < 0.01) presented with an equinus. Interpretation: Community dwelling adults with diabetes have a high rate of ankle equinus which is associated with increased forefoot pressure time integrals and a two-fold increased risk of high in-shoe peak pressures. Clinical assessment of an ankle equinus may be a useful screening tool to identify adults at increased risk of diabetic foot complications.
Searle A, Spink MJ, Ho A, Chuter VH, 'Association between ankle equinus and plantar pressures in people with diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysis', Clinical Biomechanics, 43 8-14 (2017) [C1]
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Background Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world and is associated with a life-time risk of foot ulcer of 12¿25%. Diabetes related r... [more]
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd Background Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world and is associated with a life-time risk of foot ulcer of 12¿25%. Diabetes related restriction in ankle joint range of dorsiflexion is proposed to contribute to elevated plantar pressures implicated in the development of foot ulcers. Methods A systematic search of EBSCO Megafile Premier (containing MEDLINE, CINAHL, SPORTSdiscus and Academic Search Complete) and The Cochrane Library was conducted to 23rd November 2016. Two authors independently reviewed and selected relevant studies. Meta-analysis of study data were conducted where possible. Findings Fifteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Three studies were eligible to be included in the meta-analysis which found that equinus has a significant, but small, effect on increased plantar pressures (ES¿=¿0.26, CI 95% 0.11 to 0.41, p¿=¿0.001). Of the remaining studies, eight found evidence of an association between limited ankle dorsiflexion and increased plantar pressures while four studies found no relationship. Interpretation Limited ankle joint dorsiflexion may be an important factor in elevating plantar pressures, independent of neuropathy. Limited ankle dorsiflexion and increased plantar pressures were found in all the studies where the sample population had a history of neuropathic foot ulceration. In contrast, the same association was not found in those studies where the population had neuropathy and no history of foot ulcer. Routine screening for limited ankle dorsiflexion range of motion in the diabetic population would allow for early provision of conservative treatment options to reduce plantar pressures and lessen ulcer risk.
Sadler SG, Spink M, Ho A, Janse De Jonge X, Chuter V, 'Restriction in lateral bending range of motion, lumbar lordosis, and hamstring flexibility predicts the development of low back pain: a systematic review of prospective cohort studies', BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 18 (2017) [C1]
Chuter VH, Searle A, Spink MJ, 'Flip-flop footwear with a moulded foot-bed for the treatment of foot pain: a randomised controlled trial', BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 17 1-8 (2016) [C1]
© 2016 The Author(s). Background: Foot pain is a common problem affecting up to 1 in 5 adults and is known to adversely affect activities of daily living and health related qualit... [more]
© 2016 The Author(s). Background: Foot pain is a common problem affecting up to 1 in 5 adults and is known to adversely affect activities of daily living and health related quality of life. Orthopaedic footwear interventions are used as a conservative treatment for foot pain, although adherence is known to be low, in part due to the perception of poor comfort and unattractiveness of the footwear. The objective of this trial was to assess the efficacy of flip-flop style footwear (Foot Bio-Tec©) with a moulded foot-bed in reducing foot pain compared to participant's usual footwear. Methods: Two-arm parallel randomised controlled trial using computer generated random allocation schedule at an Australian university podiatry clinic. 108 volunteers with disabling foot pain were enrolled after responding to an advertisement and eligibility screening. Participants were randomly allocated to receive footwear education and moulded flip-flop footwear to wear as much as they were comfortable with for the next 12 weeks (n = 54) or footwear education and instructions to wear their normal footwear for the next 12 weeks (n = 54). Primary outcome was the pain domain of the Foot Health Status Questionnaire (FHSQ). Secondary outcomes were the foot function and general foot health domains of the FHSQ, a visual analogue scale (VAS) for foot pain and perceived comfort of the intervention footwear. Results: Compared to the control group, the moulded flip-flop group showed a significant improvement in the primary outcome measure of the FHSQ pain domain (adjusted mean difference 8.36 points, 95 % CI 5.58 to 13.27, p < 0.01). Statistical and clinically significant differences were observed for the secondary measure of foot pain assessed by a VAS and the FSHQ domains of foot function and general foot health. None of the participants reported any pain or discomfort from the intervention footwear and six (footwear group = 4) were lost to follow up. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that flip-flop footwear with a moulded foot-bed can have a significant effect on foot pain, function and foot health and might be a valuable adjunct therapy for people with foot pain.
Searle A, Spink M, Ho A, Chuter V, 'Exercise interventions for the treatment of chronic low back pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials', Clinical Rehabilitation, 29 1155-1167 (2015) [C1]
© The Author(s) 2015. Objective: To determine, for adults with chronic low back pain, which exercise interventions are the most effective at reducing pain compared to other treatm... [more]
© The Author(s) 2015. Objective: To determine, for adults with chronic low back pain, which exercise interventions are the most effective at reducing pain compared to other treatments. Data sources: A search of MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO and The Cochrane Library was conducted up to October 2014. Review methods: Databases were searched for published reports of randomised trials that investigated the treatment of chronic low back pain of non-specific origin with an exercise intervention. Two authors independently reviewed and selected relevant trials. Methodological quality was evaluated using the Downs and Black tool. Results: Forty-five trials met the inclusion criteria and thirty-nine were included in the meta-analysis. Combined meta-analysis revealed significantly lower chronic low back pain with intervention groups using exercise compared to a control group or other treatment group (Standard Mean Deviation (SMD) =-0.32, CI 95% -0.44 to -0.19, P<0.01). Separate exploratory subgroup analysis showed a significant effect for strength/resistance and coordination/stabilisation programs. Conclusions: Our results found a beneficial effect for strength/resistance and coordination/stabilisation exercise programs over other interventions in the treatment of chronic low back pain and that cardiorespiratory and combined exercise programs are ineffective.
Chuter V, Spink M, Searle A, Ho A, 'The effectiveness of shoe insoles for the prevention and treatment of low back pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials', BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 15 1-8 (2014) [C1]
Menz HB, Spink MJ, Landorf KB, Hill KD, Lord SR, 'Older people's perceptions of a multifaceted podiatric medical intervention to prevent falls', Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association, 103 457-464 (2013) [C1]
Background: Falls are common in older people and are associated with substantial health-care costs. A recent randomized controlled trial of a multifaceted podiatric medical interv... [more]
Background: Falls are common in older people and are associated with substantial health-care costs. A recent randomized controlled trial of a multifaceted podiatric medical intervention demonstrated a 36% reduction in the fall rate over 12 months. We evaluated the acceptability of and levels of satisfaction with this intervention in the older people who participated in the trial. Methods: Participants allocated to the intervention group (which included a home-based program of foot and ankle exercises, assistance with the purchase of safe footwear when necessary, and provision of prefabricated foot orthoses) completed a structured questionnaire 6 months after they had received the intervention. The questions addressed participants' perceptions of their balance and foot and ankle strength, the perceived difficulty of the exercise program, and the degree of satisfaction with the footwear and orthoses provided. Results: Of 153 participants, 134 (87.6%) attended the 6-month follow-up assessment and completed the questionnaire. Most participants perceived improvements in balance (62.7%) and foot and ankle strength (74.6%) after 6 months of performing the exercises, and 86.6% considered the difficulty level of the exercises to be "about right." Most participants reported that they were somewhat or very satisfied with the footwear (92.3%) and orthoses (81.6%) provided. Conclusions: The multifaceted podiatric medical intervention used in this trial was generally perceived to be beneficial and demonstrated high levels of satisfaction among participants. Further research is now required to evaluate the feasibility of implementing the intervention in a range of clinical practice settings.
Landorf KB, Morrow A, Spink MJ, Nash CL, Novak A, Potter J, Menz HB, 'Effectiveness of scalpel debridement for painful plantar calluses in older people: a randomized trial', TRIALS, 14 (2013) [C1]
|Show 22 more journal articles|
Conference (10 outputs)
Spink MJ, Searle A, Ho A, Chuter VH, 'Association between ankle equinus and plantar pressures in people with diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysis', Association between ankle equinus and plantar pressures in people with diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysi, Melbourne (2017)
Spink MJ, Searle A, Chuter VH, 'Flip - flop footwear with a moulded foot - bed for the treatment of foot pain: a randomised controlled trial', Melbourne (2017)
Sadler SG, Spink M, Ho A, Janse De Jonge X, Chuter V, 'Musculoskeletal risk factors for the development of low back pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis', Auckland, New Zealand (2016)
Thompson B, Sadler S, Chuter V, Spink M, Janse de Jonge X, 'Are core stability exercises an effective treatment for nonspecific chronic low back pain? A systematic review with meta-analysis', QLD (2015) [E3]
Spink MJ, Chuter VH, Searle A, 'Flip-flop footwear with a moulded foot-bed for the treatment of foot pain: A randomised controlled trial', Hope Island, Gold Coast (2015) [E3]
Lanting S, Craike P, Spink M, Casey S, Chuter V, 'The reliability of non-invasive neurological examinations in people with diabetes', Journal of Foot and Ankle Research, Sydney, Australia (2013) [E3]
|Show 7 more conferences|
Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||8|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
20181 grants / $22,862
Does screening for ankle joint restriction have a role in preventing diabetic foot ulceration$22,862
Funding body: Hunter Medical Research Institute
20172 grants / $28,535
Funding body: Keith Tulloch Wine
Funding body: University of Newcastle
20153 grants / $10,666
Funding body: The University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
|Funding body||The University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine|
|Scheme||Faculty of Health and Medicine Equipment Grant|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
Funding body: The University of Newcastle
|Funding body||The University of Newcastle|
|Scheme||School of Health Sciences Equipment Grant round|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
|Funding body||University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine|
|Project Team||Doctor Martin Spink|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
20131 grants / $4,995
Evaluation of the pressure-redistributing properties of prefabricated foot orthoses in younger adults after at least 12 months wear$4,995
Funding body: University of Newcastle
|Funding body||University of Newcastle|
|Project Team||Doctor Martin Spink|
|Scheme||New Staff Grant|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
20121 grants / $10,000
Evaluation of student learning and engagement utilising interactive eLearning Anatomy Imaging Resources and 3-D Academic Technologies$10,000
Funding body: The University of Newcastle, Australia
|Funding body||The University of Newcastle, Australia|
Smith J, Chuter C, Spink M, Evans S
|Scheme||Centre for Teaching and learning|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
Number of supervisions
|Commenced||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2017||PhD||Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors Influencing Injury Risk in Recreational Runners||PhD (Podiatry), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|2017||Honours||The relationship of muscle strength to foot posture in children||Physiotherapy, The University of Newcastle||Principal Supervisor|
|2015||Honours||Effectiveness of customised foot orthoses in the redistribution of plantar pressures in patients with diabetes||Podiatry, The University of Newcastle||Principal Supervisor|
|2014||PhD||A randomised controlled trial investigating the effectiveness of foot orthotic devices for the treatment of chronic nonspecific low back pain||PhD (Podiatry), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|2014||PhD||The Effectiveness of a Stretching Intervention in Lowering Plantar Pressures Related to Reduced Ankle Range of Motion in People with Diabetes||PhD (Podiatry), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|Year||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2014||Honours||The Relationship Between Foot Posture and Muscle Strength in Children||Podiatry, The University of Newcastle||Principal Supervisor|
|2013||Honours||Relationship between foot posture and plantar pressure in children||Podiatry, The University of Newcastle||Principal Supervisor|
|2013||Honours||The reliability of non-invasive methods of assessing vibration perception of the foot||Podiatry, The University of Newcastle||Principal Supervisor|