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- CONFERENCE COVERAGE: 2017 IOC World Conference
- CONFERENCE COVERAGE: 2015 ISPO World Congress
- CONFERENCE COVERAGE: Ortho Technology Forum 2015
- Orthotic management of CMT: Dynamic solutions for active lifestyles
- CONFERENCE COVERAGE: Orthotics Technology Forum 2014
- ATHLETES AND INJURIES: The global question of prevention
- CONFERENCE COVERAGE: Orthotics Technology Forum 2013
- SPECIAL SECTION: Teachings from the East
- CONFERENCE COVERAGE: International Clubfoot Symposium
- CONFERENCE COVERAGE: Orthotics Technology Forum 2012
- STEPS AHEAD: Advances in foot and ankle biomechanics
- CONFERENCE COVERAGE: Custom Orthotic Insoles Technology Forum
- DEFENSIVE GAME PLAN: Global insights on sports injury prevention
- Recent Advances in Orthotic Therapy
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Category Archives: Feature Article
This two-part series examines trends in materials development and fabrication. This first installment focuses on how material strength, stiffness, and other variables affect the structural properties and design of orthotic and prosthetic devices.
By Cary Groner
Children’s shoes often are designed to look like adult shoes but lack the same structural components. Perhaps not surprisingly, research has demonstrated that running kinematics and kinetics differ significantly between seemingly similar child and adult shoes.
By Janet S. Dufek, PhD, Dana Forrest, MS, and John A. Mercer, PhD
Interventions to improve postural control in patients with functional ankle instability include strength training, balance training, taping, bracing, and foot orthoses, but further research is needed to determine which therapeutic approaches work best in which patients.
By Janet Simon, MS, ATC, Emily Hall, MS, ATC, and Carrie Docherty, PhD, ATC
Whole body vibration may help improve strength and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis and may even slow disease progression. But contradictory findings, a lack of consensus on optimal parameters, and safety issues have even WBV advocates proceeding with caution.
By Cary Groner
Prevention and treatment of foot ulcers in patients with diabetes requires an understanding of the various factors that contribute to increased risk, including anatomical deformity, poor vascular function, and diminished capacity for healing at a microscopic level.
By Allyson Berglund, DPM, Matthew Juriga, DPM, Aristidis Veves, MD, DSc, and Thanh Dinh, DPM
Research indicates that in diabetic patients with Charcot neuroarthropathy, peripheral bone mineral density decreases over time, which can contribute to risks of hardware failure, loss of correction, delayed union, and nonunion in patients with advanced disease.
By Rachel H. Jung, DPM, MHA, MPH; Robert M. Greenhagen, DPM; Dane K. Wukich, MD; Vassilios Vardaxis, PhD; and Robert M. Yoho, DPM, MS
Two separate studies directly compared valgus knee bracing and wedged foot orthoses for reducing knee adduction moment in patients with osteoarthritis, but came to opposite conclusions. A third study suggests combining the two interventions may be the best solution.
By Barbara Boughton
When treating patients who are going through rehabilitation, clinicians may be overemphasizing gait distance and overlooking the importance of gait speed. Clinical assessment of gait speed is simple and inexpensive but can be a significant indicator of functional recovery.
By Heather Braden, PT, MPT, PhD, GCS
Intramuscular manual therapy, also known as dry needling, is hypothesized to relieve pain by modifying tension in connective tissue. Limited evidence supports the use of IMT for plantar fasciitis, although further research is needed to rule out a placebo effect.
By Brent Harper, PT, DPT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT
Despite being upheld by the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act remains a subject of debate heading into next month’s presidential election. Meanwhile, government affairs experts are working to determine just how the ACA will affect lower extremity practitioners.
By Shalmali Pal
Research suggests that the ankle’s ability to absorb its share of energy during landing from a jump is altered with the use of an ankle brace. The extent to which this effect might influence risk of injury to other lower extremity joints or soft tissues, however, remains unclear.
By Jacob K. Gardner, MS
There are few high-quality studies and no randomized controlled trials documenting its effectiveness, but debridement—from surgical to larval—remains a mainstay of diabetic ulcer care in many practices, and new twists on conventional techniques continue to evolve.
By Cary Groner
Prehabilitation, particularly in the form of exercise, has the potential to significantly improve preoperative and postoperative outcomes in patients with knee osteoarthritis who are undergoing total knee arthroplasty. Both physiological and psychological outcomes can be positively impacted.
By Carly McKay, PhD, and Harry Prapavessis, PhD
Reducing the shaft height of a removable cast walker, which results in a lighter device and may also help improve postural stability, can help improve compliance in patients at risk for diabetic foot ulcers without compromising the device’s offloading capability.
By Sai Vikas Yalla, PhD, and Ryan T. Crews, MS, CCRP
Research suggests that when transitioning to a minimalist running shoe, foot strike pattern is key to preventing lower extremity injuries. A transitional minimalist shoe, with slightly thicker and softer soles, may help prevent certain injuries in some runners.
By Everett B. Lohman III, DSc, PT, OCS
Even if an intervention results in a positive clinical outcome in patients with knee osteoarthritis, another important factor to consider is whether that treatment’s benefits justify its costs. Increasingly, cost effectiveness studies are comparing OA interventions to determine value.
By Daniel Pinto, PT, PhD
Ankle joint laxity can be a complicating factor in patients with acute ankle sprains or chronic instability, and testing for excessive laxity can help practitioners choose an appropriate method of treatment. However, not all tests for ankle joint laxity are created equal.
By Theodore Croy, PhD, PT, OCS, and Jay Hertel, PhD, ATC, FNATA
A new technology, the load cell, can be used to assess rollover characteristics of prosthetic feet in a variety of walking environments. Load cell analysis can help identify premature foot-flat and dead spots and determine the effects of energy storage and return designs on amputee gait.
By Edward S. Neumann, PhD, PE, CP, FAAOP; Justin Brink, MSE, EI; Kartheek Yalamanchili, MSE, EI; and Joon S. Lee, PhD
As researchers explore the possibility that idiopathic toe walking has an underlying neurologic cause, clinicians continue to refine treatment strategies to keep ITW patients off their toes. Orthotic devices play a key role, with lower-profile devices growing in popularity.
By Emily Delzell
Inconsistent findings from laboratory studies have made it difficult to determine which gait alterations are specific to diabetic peripheral neuropathy and which also affect diabetic patients without neuropathy. Body-worn sensor technology may help clarify the distinctions.
By Tahir Khan, DPM, and Ron Guberman, DPM, DABPS
Experts still disagree about whether stretching prior to athletic activity can prevent injury and, if so, whether those benefits offset any negative performance effects. But they do tend to agree that some form of stretching is probably a good idea for most athletes.
By Cary Groner
Dose-response research refutes the common perception that increasing brace wear time leads to muscle atrophy in patients with knee osteoarthritis. In fact, longer bracing duration appears to improve hamstring strength as well as increasing patients’ physical activity levels.
By Cheryl L. Hubley-Kozey, PhD, and Gillian Hatfield Murdock, PT, MSc
Exercise is the standard prescription for obesity. But alterations to joint biomechanics, gait, and anatomical structure in overweight children and teens mean that physical activity comes with its own risks, which practitioners must factor into any clinical recommendations.
By Christina Hall Nettles
Contrary to the conclusions of early research, recent studies suggest that arch height does indeed affect lower extremity function. The biomechanics associated with different arch heights may provide a basis for treatment and prevention of related injuries.
By Thomas C. Michaud, DC