Gaining the Edge on Pain
September 21, 2015
Severely sprain an ankle and you may never feel the same—and multiple sprains may lead to debilitating problems and ongoing issues. But there’s new hope for ankle-sprain sufferers, thanks to emerging approaches to rehab.
Faculty at the Curry School of Education are working to provide relief from chronic ankle instability. They developed a treadmill add-on feature for use in rehabilitation that alters the gait of patients with this
condition and moves them closer to full recovery.
“This device has the potential to improve functional capacity and quality of life.” –Jay Hertel, Joe H. Gieck Professor of Sports Medicine
A grant from the Dean’s Research & Development Fund—supported by private gifts to the Curry School—helped Jay Hertel (Curry ‘94), the Joe H. Gieck Professor of Sports Medicine in the Department of Kinesiology; and PhD student Mark Feger design and develop a proof of concept for the treadmill add-on.
The team then studied the device’s effectiveness. The add-on increases the activation of targeted leg muscles while patients are walking. It also alters how forces are distributed throughout the foot. Now Hertel’s writing a larger grant proposal to leverage this pilot effort. Working with UVA’s Licensing & Ventures Group, he is seeking a patent for the device.
“This device has the potential to improve functional capacity and quality of life, and decrease the risk of further injury in patients with chronic ankle instability,” said Hertel.
The Joe H. Gieck Professorship in Sports Medicine was funded by friends, family, and former students of former head athletic trainer Joe H. Gieck (Curry ’65, ’75), and is the nation’s first professorship in sports medicine. Endowed professorships attract distinguished faculty and provide them with resources to support pioneering innovations and research such as Jay Hertel’s.