Our latest report provides standardised terminology for “therapeutic footwear” and will improve treatment for children with walking difficulties across the globe

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Our recent paper has established recognised terms, definitions, design characteristics and prescription criteria for off-the-shelf stability footwear for the first time.

Numerous terms have been used in the literature concerning clinical footwear interventions, including orthopaedic shoes, rehabilitative boots, modified shoes, supportive shoes and special shoes. There is also no standardised set of agreed outcome measures, both physical and psychosocial, to ascertain the effectiveness of this footwear.

A group of multinational professionals, from clinicians to those involved in the footwear industry, were recruited to take part in an online survey and to provide further insights through a series of open-ended questions.

“Therapeutic footwear” was the agreed term to represent children’s footwear interventions, with grouping and subgrouping of therapeutic footwear being dependent on their intended clinical outcomes: accommodative, corrective or functional. Design characteristics of off-the-shelf footwear were also grouped under three themes: stability, ergonomics and aesthetics.

This is believed to have many benefits including:

  • A common understanding of therapeutic footwear terminology to facilitate communication between clinicians, researchers and manufacturers.
  • Research-informed evidence for selection of appropriate off-the-shelf stability therapeutic footwear based on identified design characteristics.
  • Research-informed evidence for dispensing off-the-shelf stability therapeutic footwear to patients.
  • Standardised outcome measures for clinical assessment of the effectiveness of off-the-shelf stability therapeutic footwear interventions.

This study has achieved an expert consensus where none previously existed, which is important from both a manufacturing and clinical perspective. This is a huge step forward which we hope will lead to quicker, more personalised and more effective treatment for children with mobility issues.

Read the full paper published in BMJ Open – Defining and grouping children’s therapeutic footwear and criteria for their prescription: an international expert Delphi consensus study

Visualising Coordination Patterns during human movement

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Here’s an introduction and highlights of our work

  • Proposed coordination pattern classification can offer an interpretation of the CA that provides either in-phase or anti-phase coordination information, along with an understanding of the direction of segmental rotations and the segment that is the dominant mover at each point in time.

Introduction to Vector Coding

  • The traditional approach of reporting time-series data from vector coding can be problematic when overlaying multiple trials on the same illustration.
  • The use of colour mapping and profiling techniques highlighted differences in coordination pattern and coordination variability data across several participants that questions the interpretation and relevance of reporting group data.

Coordinatiion Mapping

  • Colour mapping and profiling techniques are ideal reporting methods to compliment prospective multiple single-subject design studies and to classify commonalities and differences in patterns of coordination and patterns of control between individuals or trials.
  • The data visualisation approaches in the current study may provide further insight on overuse injuries, exercise prescription and rehabilitation interventions.
  • Our approach can have important implications in demonstrating gait coordination data in an easily comprehensible fashion by clinicians and scientists alike.

Key References

Needham, R., Naemi, R. and Chockalingam, N., 2014. Quantifying lumbar–pelvis coordination during gait using a modified vector coding technique. Journal of biomechanics47(5), pp.1020-1026. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.12.032

Needham, R.A., Naemi, R. and Chockalingam, N., 2015. A new coordination pattern classification to assess gait kinematics when utilising a modified vector coding technique. Journal of biomechanics48(12), pp.3506-3511. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2015.07.023

Needham, R.A., Naemi, R., Hamill, J. and Chockalingam, N., 2020. Analysing patterns of coordination and patterns of control using novel data visualisation techniques in vector coding. The Foot, p.101678.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foot.2020.101678

Our latest work shows that children with Cerebral Palsy have more energy to play and be physically active for longer!

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Our research shows that the appropriate design and tailoring of splints can reduce the energy used by children with CP while increasing their speed and distance, compared with a splint which is not fine-tuned. This is something which could have a significant impact on their quality of life.

During the study, the researchers analysed the walking pattern of children with cerebral palsy at our gait laboratory and participants were assessed while barefoot and with both non-tuned and tuned splints.

Children wearing the fine-tuned splints showed improvements in several areas including hip and pelvic function and knee extension, while a non-tuned splint potentially showed a decrease in hip function.

The full research findings, which were published in the June edition of the Foot Journal, are available below: