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Retrospective study

Retrospective study - a type of longitudinal study that looks backwards over a set of data to examine suspected factors in relation to an outcome that is established at the start of the study.
  • These studies are incredibly beneficial when large sets of high-quality data are available that can be analyzed for trends.
  • Unfortunately, these studies cannot be better than the data set that is being used (for example, incomplete or sloppy medical records would hinder analysis). Further, this type of research can be easily manipulated, either intentionally or unintentionally.
  • In this study by Chang et al., changes in muscle size were investigated and correlated with a history of chronic plantar fasciitis (1).
  1. Chang, R., Kent-Braun, JA., Hamill, J. Use of MRI for volume estimation of tibialis posterior and plantar intrinsic foot muscles in healthy and chronic plantar fasciitis limbs.  Clinical Biomechanics. 27 (2012) 500-505