Director: Kornelia Kulig, PhD, PT, FAPTA
I am committed to studying human movement and postural control in those who suffer from recurrent musculoskeletal pain. My research is clinically motivated, theoretically informed, and the derived hypotheses are experimentally tested. In this population, I study peripheral and central adaptations to a history of recurrent pain and/or degeneration in the trunk and lower extremities. I seek to refine the experimentally developed, vertically integrated neuromechanical framework for the study of recurrent painful conditions and to develop intervention and prevention strategies for recurrent pain in the low back and lower extremity. I am curious whether a history of pain leaves a footprint on movement and subsequently an ill-performed movement contributes to painful episodes. My research program benefits from close collaborations with practicing clinicians to ensure clinical relevance and an enhanced impact on clinical practice.
Movement Variability, Coordination and Neuromechanical Adaptations to History of Pain and/or Degeneration, Following Bouts of Tendon Pain
Tendinopathy, an overuse injury, is a significant source of morbidity. We examine morphological, movement-related,and systemic factors which may contribute to the development or progression of tendinopathies. We have been conducting laboratory and clinical studies of lower extremity tendons, including Achilles, flexor hallucis longus, tibialis posterior, and patellar. Our work documented peripheral and central adaptations to tendon degeneration, and altered coordinative strategies during dynamic tasks. This led us to continue exploring the underlying mechanisms of effective or ineffective adaptations to a history of pain in those with and without morphological signs of tendon degeneration. We continue to explore aspects of coordination and movement variability in persons with varying stages of tendinopathy. The long-term goal of our research program is to provide a robust mechanistic foundation for clinical studies examining efficacy and effectiveness of non-surgical interventions for tendon pathologies. Ultimately, we aim to provide a scientific foundation for strategies to prevent tendon pathology.
Trunk Control during Functional and Well-ControlledTasks following Recurrent Painful Low Back Pain Episodes
Low back dysfunction is the main cause of musculoskeletal disability. Our multidisciplinary research program systematically examines the impact of a history of pain and pathology on postural and locomotor control, and movement-related mental processing. Our studies on trunk mechanics and muscle activation informed us about the role of structural morphology and neuro-motor control in the presence and absence of pathology. We applied our observations of morphological and physiological adaptations accompanying a history of low back pain to develop and test rehabilitative strategies in a clinical trial. Recently, we have been probing the movement system using cognitive dual-tasking to provide insight into cognitive-motor processing related to pathology and/or a history of pain. Our findings contribute to the framework for the study of multi-level adaptations that may be present during painful episodes and in symptom remission. This framework informs the development of effective multi-modal intervention strategies.
Director: Christopher Powers, PhD, PT, FAPTA
My research program is focused on understanding the pathomechanics underlying lower extremity injury. My research interests are guided by the belief that the identification of basic injury mechanisms will lead to the development of more effective clinical interventions. To this end, my work seeks to understand the root causes of various orthopaedic diagnoses using a combination of experimental methodologies including: in-vitro simulations, dynamic magnetic resonance imaging, functional biomechanical assessments, and subject-specific musculoskeletal modeling.
Current areas of research focus include:
Pathomechanics underlying femoracetabular impingement (FAI)
Pathomechanics underlying patellar tendinopathy
Influence of bony morphology, strength and neuromuscular control on hip and knee kinematics in runners
Centrally mediated factors underlying movement impairments related to knee pain & injury
Development & validation of a movement-based screening assessment to evaluate readiness to return to sport following ACL injury
Upper extremity responses used to regain balance following a slip perturbation
EXERCISE AND AGING BIOMECHANICS