The Impact of Race on Plantar Loading and Research Engagement

African Americans are more likely than White Americans to experience foot ulcers and are twice as likely to experience diabetes-related foot amputation due to foot ulcers. High plantar loading is a major factor in the development of many diabetes-related foot ulcers. While it is known that diabetic foot neuropathy, foot type, and sex can impact plantar loading, limited research has been conducted to examine the effect of race on plantar loading variables. This study identifies a gap in the existing literature on plantar loading differences in racial groups and additionally assesses research engagement in African American young adults. It is critical that racial minorities are included in research to strengthen the generalizability of findings and reduce racial health disparities. However, there is a unique challenge of gathering participants for this study. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current state of racial health disparities, it cannot be assumed that young African American adults have the same attitudes towards research engagement as the older members of the community or younger White Americans. Therefore, there are two objectives of this study: 1) To determine if race and other factors are significant predictors of plantar loading, and 2) To identify racial differences in research engagement in young adults between African Americans and White Americans. If you’d like to participate in this study, please contact Julia Brisbane at

Fiber Optic Arm Joint Sensor

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is the most common motor disability in children in the United States, affecting movement and posture during daily activities. Eighty percent of children with CP exhibit negative outcomes and delayed milestones of upper limb motion through reduced speed, limited handling of objects, and joint contracture.  In order to assess the effectiveness of proposed treatments, comprehensive, quantitative, and sensitive biomechanical outcome measures are required. Current tools and equipment present limitations when applied to a clinical, pediatric population with CP. The purpose of this study is to determine the accuracy and repeatability of a fiber-optic curvature sensor (FOCUS) system to monitor elbow and wrist joint angles when compared to the gold standard 3D motion capture, in healthy adults, prior to using it to characterize upper extremity motion in children with CP.

Balance & Gait Anticipation for Children with Hemiparetic Cerebral Palsy

Hemiplegic Cerebral Palsy (HCP) results in an uneven displacement of weight between the legs which has been noted to impact everything from balance to gait, and activities of daily life, including stair climbing and stepping over obstacles. For the first time, using novel approaches, asymmetrical limb loading can serve as a measure to connect standing balance adjustments to a child’s ability to effectively initiate gait whether they have HCP or are typically developing. This project seeks to provide quantitatively robust and impartial results that will improve health outcomes for children with HCP and build a bridge for collaboration and innovation in the future.

Leg stiffness and leg stiffness asymmetry in ACL reconstructed patients

Kinetic and kinematic symmetry analysis of different jump-landing tasks is often used to determine both an ACLR athlete’s risk for a second ACL injury and when they can return to sport. One metric that has not been widely considered for this assessment is leg stiffness and its associated symmetry value between legs. Leg stiffness during jump landings is simply the deformation of the leg in response to the application of ground reaction force. If an athlete lands with limited joint excursions and higher ground reaction forces, the energy absorption involvement of the leg muscles is reduced and the joints may experience harmful levels of loading. ACLR athletes are known to load or favor their nonsurgical leg more than their surgical leg during the landing phase of a jump, and it is possible that this causes increased asymmetry between legs in terms of leg stiffness and related measures of joint power and joint work. The purpose of this study is to compare the stop jump performance of an ACLR group and a healthy control group to determine if ACLR athletes use altered landing mechanics that put them at risk for a second ACL injury.

Validation of Video-Based Motion Tracking Methods

The purpose of this study is to determine the validity of using a 2D marker-based video tracking system and a markerless 3D system, based on the fundamentals of geometry and stereoscopic images, when compared with the gold standard, 3D motion capture. Several measures will be calculated using the 3D motion capture system. Results from the two other tracking methods will be compared to those of the gold standard to determine the validity of the new systems. This method could allow for more widely and clinically accessible data collection methods to be used to gather kinematic movement data. These techniques could then be used during rehabilitation, gait and injury risk assessments, and preventative care efforts driven by movement evaluation.

Limb Loading Asymmetry During Daily Functional Tasks

This study aims to examine symmetry differences within an individual throughout different daily functional tasks. These tasks include level walking, standing up/sitting down from a chair, and ascending and descending stairs. Study participants will be provided with a pair of shoes that are compatible with our in-shoe force sensors. These flat and flexible in-shoe load-sol® sensors cover the bottom of each foot, pair via Bluetooth with an iPad, and measure the resultant force between the foot. By characterizing symmetry deficits during these daily tasks in a younger adult, uninjured population, we aim to identify rehabilitation benchmarks and thresholds for what would be defined as a healthy level of symmetry.

The Effect of Shoe Upper Panel Stiffness on Biomechanical Performance

Athletes are always looking for different ways to improve in their sports. Footwear choice is an important variable to consider for any athlete. The design of footwear has the ability to impact athletic performance. This project aims to determine the biomechanical differences caused by differing material properties of shoe upper panels. Using three shoes prototyped with different upper panel materials, we are looking at jumping performance differences as well as foot-specific responses. This information will help provide athletic footwear manufacturers with the knowledge of how materials properties can impact athletic performance in the shoes that they design.

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.