Are you interested in musculoskeletal research? If the answer is yes, then you may like to know that within the University of Southampton's Rehabilitation and Health Technologies Research Group we have a whole research cluster that is dedicated to musculoskeletal research.
As you probably know already, movement dysfunction in musculoskeletal disorders can restrict everyday activities and reduce quality of life. That is why our musculoskeletal research aims to optimise function using innovative research approaches and health technologies. Throughout our work we use both quantitative and qualitative techniques. In addition, mixed methods represent an essential element in our clinical trials.
All this musculoskeletal research involves developmental studies and clinical trials to increase understanding of normal musculoskeletal function and find effective ways of managing joint and soft tissue conditions, such as arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders like back or shoulder pain.
The ultimate aim is to enable active living and healthy ageing whilst minimising the limitations caused by musculoskeletal conditions. At the moment our musculoskeletal research focuses on: back pain, shoulder pain, knee conditions, foot conditions and healthy aging. In many cases the work we undertake focuses on osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as joint replacement.
Importantly, a key feature of our musculoskeletal research is its sound interdisciplinary base, primarily involving experts from healthcare and engineering disciplines. Our approaches include basic science laboratory-based studies of biomechanical and physiological mechanisms of normal function, dysfunction and recovery; applied developmental studies of technologies for assessment and treatment; exploring communication and interaction between clinicians and patients; and clinical reasoning and clinical trials of treatment effectiveness.
As a group we have gained international recognition for technological developments and innovative applications that assist our musculoskeletal research. For example, in the area of ultrasound imaging our work has helped to establish rehabilitative ultrasound imaging of muscle to become a recognised area within the medical imaging field, specifically for assessment and biofeedback to enhance treatment in rehabilitation by physiotherapists.
In the field of diagnostic imaging of foot conditions we have developed diagnostic ultrasound imaging protocols for detection of inflammatory arthritis within the foot and ankle, particularly for use by podiatrists.
When it comes to motion analysis we conduct state of the art 3-dimensional motion analysis, using Vicon motion capture systems with integrated electromyography and force platforms. Work in this area involves developing models for different areas of the body including: shoulder, hand, knee, lumbopelvic region, foot and ankle.
In terms of hand splinting, we have conducted effectiveness studies of splints for hand arthritis and clinical studies into innovative new developments, such as small hand joint silver ring splints for correcting hand deformities in arthritis. And finally, in relation to outcome measures we have developed robust outcome measurement techniques for use in musculoskeletal research and clinical practice.
If you have found this article helpful and informative and you would like to know more about the musculoskeletal research
we undertake here at the University of Southampton's Faculty of Health Sciences, then simply go online and visit us at the Rehabilitation and Health Technologies research group's website. The web address is www.southampton.ac.uk/rht