Prosthetics and Orthotics Research

Prosthetics and orthotics research in the Motion Analysis Lab includes the following focus areas:

Improved training program for fall prevention for war fighters with lower extremity trauma

Dr. Kaufman's lab is working to accelerate the rehabilitation process, significantly reduce fall risk, and facilitate return of maximal functional capabilities for active duty or retired service members who have experienced lower limb trauma, specifically transfemoral amputation, bilateral lower extremity amputation and limb salvage procedures.

The lab is applying a perturbation-based technique for rehabilitation for these patients. The technique has previously been shown to successfully reduce falls in war fighters with unilateral transtibial amputations.

Steerable powered ankle-foot prostheses for increased mobility in people with amputations

The long-term goal of this focus area is to explore maneuverability in design of assistive robot prostheses for enhancing the mobility and well-being of people with amputations and in the aging population.

Development of a national orthotic and prosthetic registry

In this focus area, the goal of Dr. Kaufman's research team is to produce a preliminary list of data elements that can be used in a national orthotic and prosthetic registry, with a long-term goal of improving the delivery and quality of orthotic and prosthetic care to patients.

Prevalence, correlates and risk of prescription drug use and abuse in people with above-knee amputations

The goal of this initial study was to determine the impact of opioid prescriptions in patients with above-knee amputations compared with other neurogenic pain medications in order to determine the relative risk of addiction.

The study is carried out under the working hypothesis that opioid use prior to amputation has a significant impact on the probability of sustained use, that is, it's correlated with addiction.

Risk factors and costs associated with secondary health conditions in people with above-knee amputations

Utilization of a prosthetic limb may lead to reduced mobilization, which can then lead to secondary health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. These additional health conditions increase cost of care and reduce quality of life.

The objective of this study is to determine whether or not adults with above-knee amputations — both dysvascular and nonvascular — are at a greater risk of developing or increasing in severity the complications of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis compared with peers matched for age, sex and comorbidity using the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP).

Upper extremity motion strategies during activities of daily living

In this study, the Motion Analysis Lab is quantifying the patterns of arm use, muscle activity, joint angles and range of motion in both unimpaired adults and adults who have been affected by a brachial plexus injury.

Results from this study can help with surgical planning for restoration of upper extremity function. Results can also aid in the design of assistive upper extremity orthotic devices.

Dr. Kaufman's team hypothesizes that people who have had surgical reconstruction of the brachial plexus will have upper extremity motion strategies that are comparable to those of healthy control participants when performing tasks simulating activities of daily living.