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. 

Effects of Achilles Tendon Assistive Taping in Healthy Recreational Athletes

This study tested the effects of a specific Achilles taping technique during running and jumping tasks. Subjects were outfitted with 3D motion capture markers in order to measure movement and loading during the tasks. Subjects are currently being recruited for the study. Eligible subjects will be between the ages of 18-35, must participate in athletic activities at least 3 times per week, and will have had no leg injuries in the past six months that have kept them from performing athletic activities for more than two days, and no leg injuries at all in the last two months. Testing will take place during one session in the Granata Lab and will last 60-90 minutes. Please email us or call Evan McConnell at (540) 231-4294 if you are interested in participating in this study.

Gender Differences in the Performance Response to Brace Wear Following ACL Reconstruction

This study examines how wearing a brace changes physical performance in males and females who have undergone ACL reconstruction surgery. Subjects will perform several running, jumping, and hopping tasks both with and without a custom-fit functional knee brace. Subjects are currently being recruited for the study. Testing will be done on subjects will have undergone ACL reconstruction surgery and will be within three weeks of returning to sport-related activities. Subjects who have undergone ACL reconstruction surgery but have not yet returned to sports are encouraged to contact the lab so that we can schedule testing at the time of return to sport. Knee braces will be provided for subjects that meet all study criteria. Testing will take place in the Granata Lab during two separate sessions three months apart, with each session lasting about one hour. Subjects will be compensated $20 for each session. Please email us or call us at (540) 231-4294 if you are interested in participating in this study.

Side-to-Side Asymmetry Changes During Running

The project investigates how the asymmetry between the left and right side of a runner’s body is affected by exhaustion from longer distances. The ground reaction forces acting on the body will be assessed in a representative training environment on a path throughout the Virginia Tech campus. A volunteer between the ages of 18-35 can participate if he/she meets the following requirements:  He/she runs at least 10 miles per week, has not had an injury in the past 12 months that has kept him/her from running for more than 2 days, and has not had an injury within the past 2 months. Eligible subjects will run two runs: a short, two-mile run, and a long, four-mile run, spaced at least a week apart. The data collected from the study will be used to see if differences in asymmetry patterns exist in an outdoor training environment between long and short runs, and if differences in asymmetry patterns exist between males and females. Please email Kristen Renner if you are interested in participating in this study.

The Impact of Total Ankle Arthroplasty on Balance

The goal of this study is to investigate how having a total ankle replacement affects balance over time.  We will be examining the impact that having a total ankle replacement has on both the affected limb and the unaffected limb. When a person tries to stand still, they constantly make small changes in how their weight is distributed. With a replaced ankle joint, these changes become harder to make quickly, and patients can easily lose their balance. We will be using data that has been collected on hundreds of ankle replacement patients from before surgery though a 2 year follow-up assessment in order to understand how their balance is affected. As well as examining how these patients use other joints in order to compensate for deficiencies in mobility and proprioceptive feedback at the ankle.

Knee Loading Asymmetry and Walking Biomechanics in unilateral knee osteoarthritis

This study evaluates mechanical changes and joint loading resulting from the progression of knee osteoarthritis. Subjects will be outfitted with reflective markers and in-shoe pressure sensors while performing walking, sit-to-stand, and gait assessment testing. Subjects are currently being recruited for the study. Eligible subjects will be between the ages of 40 and 75, must have been diagnosed with unilateral knee osteoarthritis, may not have pain in their other knee, a previous joint replacement, neurological disease, and must not have any assistive device impacting balance and walking. Testing will take place during one session in the Granata Lab and will last approximately 1 hour. Please email us or call us at (540) 231-4294 if you are interested in participating in this study.