Measuring landing mechanics during rehabilitation from an ACL reconstruction

Unfortunately, athletes returning to sport following ACL reconstruction surgery currently have a high risk for secondary injuries. In this project, we are measuring lower extremity mechanics during jump-landing tasks in various outpatient physical therapy clinics in Southwest Virginia. Our lab recently found that force sensing shoe insoles and 2D video analysis are valid and repeatable for assessing landing kinetics and kinematics, respectively. Our long term goal is to use these clinically feasible technologies to both help physical therapists train patients to land better and help surgeons decide if a patient is ready to return to sport. 

Validation of COM Measures with MetaMotionR in relation to Gait Asymmetry and Balance Picture

This project aims to validate the use of an IMU sensor, MetaMotionR, in assessing balance using center of mass (COM) measures, in comparison to 3D motion capture. This could serve as a potential cheaper alternative for biomechanists and clinicians in the assessment and diagnosis of balance-related pathologies. Broadly, this project also aims to help bridge the gap in our understanding of human balance capabilities. Establishing a baseline of balance performance in healthy people is necessary for comparisons of balance disruptions generated in association with musculoskeletal pathologies, following surgical interventions, for setting target levels for rehabilitation, and for injury prevention. Quantifying a normal and healthy range of balance performance in a large and diverse population will aid in establishing clinical and functional benchmarks in evaluating injury risk and recovery. This  will also contribute to understand how balance performance differs between different groups including sex, race, and age. 

Determining Accuracy and Repeatability of an Instrumented Knee Brace

Up to 250,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries occur in the United States annually, with many injured individuals undergoing ACL reconstruction (ACLR) surgery. Physicians often prescribe braces for ACLR patients during return to sport, as brace wear has been shown to improve movement mechanics and reduce the risk of a second injury. However, brace compliance remains an issue and currently there is no way to monitor compliance and activity levels in ACLR patients. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine if an instrumented knee brace can accurately measure activity through step count and knee angles, and to determine if it is valid compared to motion capture technology and repeatable between days. 

Effects of Ankle Braces on Foot Posture

Understanding the mechanics of the foot and ankle and the causes of injury is crucial for preventing injuries in the future. Common preventative measures include in-shoe orthoses, ankle taping, and ankle braces. Braces and taping have been shown to reduce both the occurrence and the severity of ankle sprains, with braces being more effective. Even though bracing has been shown to be effective for preventing ankle sprains, little research has been done into their effect on irregular foot posture. If ankle braces can be shown to effectively correct foot posture in the second portion of this study, they can serve as an affordable and easily accessible preventative measure for the injuries that may result due to abnormal arch height or rearfoot angle.

National Biomechanics Day at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech hosted more than 90 high school students from surrounding high schools as part of National Biomechanics Day 2019! Led by Dr. Robin Queen and the Granata Lab, National Biomechanics Day 2019 at Virginia Tech involved hands-on biomechanics activities in 5 engineering labs. National Biomechanics Day is an annual international event aimed at introducing students to the field biomechanics.

https://beam.vt.edu/about/news/stories/virginia-tech-engineers-host-local-student-for-hands-on-national-biomechanics-day-event.html

https://video.vt.edu/media/National+Biomechanics+Day+2018/1_4r9ew643/91886671

 

Gilliam Fellowship will support graduate student’s investigation of impact of race on movement mechanics

Dr. Robin Queen and PhD student Cherice Hughes-Oliver were awarded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship as an advisor-advisee pair. This funding will support Cherice’s graduate studies to understand the impact of race and related factors on walking, running, and jump landing mechanics.

https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2018/09/Cherice-Hughes-Oliver-Gilliam-Fellowship.html

https://www.hhmi.org/news/45-gilliam-fellowships-support-students-and-advisers-committed-to-increasing-diversity-science

Treadmill Laboratory

Dr. Queen also directs the Granata Treadmill Lab at Virginia Tech, which is housed in Norris Hall on the Virginia Tech campus in close proximity to both the main Granata Lab and Dr. Queen’s office. The Treadmill Lab contains an instrumented treadmill, motion capture equipment, and a physical therapy treatment table. This space is also equipped with a ceiling anchor to enable the use of a harness while on the treadmill.

Load Based Biofeedback during Walking After a Knee Replacement

Over 700,000 people undergo a knee replacement surgery each year in the United States to manage joint pain resulting from severe knee osteoarthritis. This project focuses on determining specific differences between older adults with a knee replacement and healthy older adults during walking. This information will inform a biofeedback intervention for total knee replacement patients which will aim at assisting this population to walk more similarly to their healthy peers.

Instrumented Treadmill

The Granata Lab has an AMTI split-belt fore-aft instrumented treadmill (Watertown, MA), which is equipped with front and back AMTI force plates and corresponding belts. The treadmill can be used to monitor ground reaction forces in the anterior/posterior, medial/lateral, and vertical directions and corresponding free moments about each axis. Additionally, the treadmill incline and belt speed for both the front and back force plate belts can be adjusted. The force and moment data obtained from these force plates can be used to understand both ground reaction forces as well as joint moments, in conjunction with kinematics data, during walking or running.

Reduction of Risk Factors for ACL Re-injuries using an Innovative Biofeedback Approach

ACL injuries are common among athletes and due to residual muscle weakness, limited knee motion and asymmetrical movement patterns after surgery many of these athletes will sustain secondary ACL injuries following return to sports. This project seeks to determine if a novel biofeedback-based rehabilitation approach can decrease a known risk factor for secondary injuries to the ACL. The project specifically focuses on correcting asymmetric movement patterns, a known risk factor for secondary injury that is not directly addressed by existing interventions through a 6 week therapy based biofeedback intervention.