Dr Heidi Siddle

Dr Heidi Siddle


During the past 18 years I have developed a successful clinical academic career which has led to my current appointment as the first non-medical NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Leeds. I am the first Consultant Podiatrist to be appointed in Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT), and the only UK podiatrist to be appointed both as a Consultant in a rheumatology team and an Associate Professor in a UK medical school. Through this I have developed a reputation as an international clinical expert in the field of podiatry in rheumatology. My research has been included in NICE guidelines and an impact case in REF 2014.

I qualified as a Podiatrist from the University of Salford in 1998 and joined the Rheumatology clinical team in 2000, establishing a dedicated Rheumatology Foot Health service. Since 2003 I have held a number of research roles within LIRMM and obtained my PhD in 2013. I was awarded a NIHR Clinical Lectureship and now have a clinical academic role dividing my time between NHS clinics, research capacity building and undertaking a programme of NIHR funded research. I supervise PhD, MD and Master's students and teach on the undergraduate medical rheumatology education program.

I was appointed as one of the first non-medical Honorary Clinical Associate Professors in LTHT (2015). This role, together with my NIHR Clinical Lectureship has provided a unique platform and a valuable opportunity to develop research capacity amongst non-medical clinicians. Since the beginning of 2015, I have provided support and mentorship to 23 allied health professional aspiring clinical academics.

I am leading a Research Capacity Building Task Force, which is a collaboration between LTHT and the University of Leeds to engage and support non-medical colleagues in undertaking research. This has included establishing a Clinical Research Career Pathway and Clinical Research Careers Strategy (2018-2021) for non-medical professions. The Pathway and Strategy have been designed to identify talent, support potential and sustain a research culture through supporting the delivery of research, integrating research into clinical practice and developing personal clinical academic careers. Most importantly this work will be underpinned by a new formal agreement between LTHT and the university, which will extend the current employment Memorandum of Understanding on joint appointments supporting clinical academic careers for medics and dentists to include non-medical clinicians.


  • LIRMM Athena SWAN Lead
  • Clinical lead for the Foot & Ankle STudies in Rheumatology (FASTER) program

Research interests

I am the clinical lead for the Foot and Ankle STudies in Rheumatology (FASTER) program in the Section of Clinical Biomechanics and Physical Medicine (Lead Professor Anthony Redmond). My research focuses on long-term conditions affecting the foot and ankle.

I have developed my role as a principle investigator during my PhD studies, been a co-applicant on multiple research grants (including NIHR HTA) as well as being awarded a personal doctoral fellowship from the Arthritis Research Campaign (now Versus Arthritis) and a NIHR Clinical Lectureship.

My current program of NIHR funded research includes developing a Foot and Ankle Ultrasound Scoring System for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (FUSS-RA) in conjunction with the international Outcome Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) organisation as well as establishing a clinical care pathway for persistent inflammatory foot and ankle disease in patients with RA. I have led a European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) project to develop recommendations for non-medical health professionals using ultrasound for the management of rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.

My Clinical Lectureship has supported collaborations across other Institutes and Schools (cardiovascular, engineering) within the University of Leeds, as well as establish networks to attract research funding (European League Against Rheumatism [EULAR], the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and publish in high impact journals such as the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases (Impact Factor 12.811). Developing as a clinical academic has enabled me support other non-medics by leading projects nationally, with the College of Podiatry and Health Education England, and internationally with EULAR, to produce competencies and clinical pathways for non-medical health professionals using diagnostic ultrasound in clinical practice and research.

In addition to multiple journal publications, I have contributed to book chapters, sit on editorial boards and am co-author of the book ‘The Foot & Ankle in Rheumatoid Arthritis’. I am an editor of the new OUP book ‘The Foot and Ankle in Rheumatology’ to be published in 2019.


  • PhD Plantar plate pathology in the painful forefoot of patients with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Non-Medical Prescribing MSc Module
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Musculoskeletal Ultrasound
  • MSc Advancing Clinical Practice
  • BSc (Hons) Podiatry

Professional memberships

  • Health and Care Professions Council CH13828
  • Fellow of the College of Podiatrists in Podiatric Medicine (FCPodMed)
  • Fellow of Podiatric Medicine of the Royal college of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (FFPM RCPS (Glasg))

Student education

Undergraduate medical rheumatology education

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine
  • Musculoskeletal disease
  • Targets and therapies
  • Foot and Ankle Studies in Rheumatology (FASTER)
  • Long-term conditions
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>