Researchers Awarded Grant to Prevent Osteoarthritis in People With Amputations

Human motion biomechanics researchers at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) have been awarded a three-year, $513,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Defense's (DOD) Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity to measure the effects of different forms of weight bearing exercises on the bodies of people with transtibial amputation. The goal of the research is to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis.

The study will compare the impacts of cycling, elliptical, and walking exercise using motion analysis and computer modeling. Knee biomechanics will be evaluated for a control group of ten able-bodied subjects and a group of ten subjects with amputations. Participants will be 18-50 years old, and most of the group with amputations will be military veterans. By the end of the three-year study, the goal is to provide information and data that could help people with amputations determine a best course of action for their exercise habits, movements, and exertion to prevent future surgery or injury.

Matt Robinson, CPO, with the Hanger patient care facility in San Luis Obispo, California, will collaborate with the research team, which is made up of university and medical personnel.

"This proposal possesses the broader impact of enhancing quality of life among the substantially greater number of civilian amputees in addition to military amputees," said Stephen Klisch, PhD, the study's principal investigator and a mechanical engineering professor at Cal Poly. "There is very little information in this area about the impacts of riding a bike and none about elliptical machines. We expect that this and related projects will lead to a recommendation on the types and intensities of exercises that amputees should use for lifelong fitness sustainment while reducing their chance of developing osteoarthritis down the road."

Editor's note: This story was adapted from materials provided by Cal Poly.