Rehabilitation Projects

Manual wheelchair activities associated with shoulder pain and injury

The goal of this study is to identify factors that lead to shoulder pain in manual wheelchair users. Investigators will study the activities of daily living, forces on the hand, and body posture of manual wheelchair users during one full day in their own environment.

Data will be collected with inertial measurement units and a force-sensing glove — methods that won't require participants to alter their normal daily routines. In addition, questionnaires and MRIs will be used to gather evidence about whether participants have shoulder pain, a shoulder injury or both.

Shoulder pain is common in people with spinal cord injuries who use manual wheelchairs. The majority of research that has investigated root causes of this shoulder pain occurred in the laboratory setting. Dr. Morrow and her colleagues believe that to truly prevent shoulder pain, researchers need to leave the laboratory to identify the real risk factors that occur in daily life.

Quantifying activity levels in a normal population

There is no existing database of normal activity levels across a spectrum of ages, so the goal of this project is to build a database of activity levels from a normal population.

While comparing changes within patient populations is valuable, even deeper conclusions can be drawn from comparing activity levels in patient populations with those of a normal population.

Recording body accelerations to measure activity has been investigated previously for a wide range of patient populations, including people with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and osteoarthritis.

Activity monitoring and the subsequent analysis of the accelerometry data have proved useful in distinguishing changes in activity level due to surgery, rehabilitation or pharmaceutical therapies.

Improved training method for rapid rehabilitation of amputees

The purpose of this study is to apply a technique that has successfully reduced falls in older adults to the rehabilitation of people with transfemoral and transtibial amputations.

The goals of the study are to accelerate the rehabilitation process, increase weight-bearing strategies on the prosthetic limb and achieve significantly reduced fall risk.

Fall assessment and fracture risk

This is a study to examine the relationship between fall risk as assessed by techniques in the Motion Analysis Laboratory and the World Health Organization's fracture prediction model (FRAX). The goal is to determine whether fall risk, regardless of age, should be characterized individually to improve fracture and fall risk assessments.

Study participants will be 125 community-dwelling women age 65 and older from a previously recruited cohort. All participants will have bone mineral density and FRAX measurements taken and complete balance and fall risk questionnaires.

Objective measurements in the Motion Analysis Laboratory will include dynamic gait analysis and a balance assessment on the ActiveStep fall risk assessment and fall prevention system. Data collection began in 2012.