The content of this post was written by Dr. Lorenza Flaviani from Orthesys. We thank Dr. Flaviani for their valuable contribution!
The progress of our GAITLAB is similar to a child learning to walk. It is amazing to see their progress, their curiosity, the first conquests, the fears and uncertainty, day after day. We observe this in our GAITLAB with Multifactorial Instrumental Motion Analysis in the field of Orthotics and Prosthetics thanks to highly technological systems. It is amazing to see how many areas of interest can benefit from the kinematics, Kinetics and electromyographic analyses provided by the BTS systems and see growing, day after day, the confidence that the taken path is the right one.
At the settlement in the Orthesys GAITLAB, we have been “taken by the hand” by Cristina, Diana, Filippo, Claudio, Claudia, Giulia… (I hope I have not forgotten someone) and supported by their technical, marketing and communication skills to apply all the protocols provided and present our work successfully. We have taken advantage of the supervision and collaboration of the Polytechnic Bioengineers. We are working with their trainees to welcome feedback on patient assessment and reports to improve data analysis. The intention of Orthesys from the beginning has been to utilize our 30 years of experience, demonstrating the ability to execute and run a gait lab to full capability despite the fact that it is not a hospital nor a clinic.
In this first year of activity of the GAITLAB, we proudly claim to have “penetrated” the following areas and applications:
- neurological: we are conducting a study about dynamic and innovative functional orthosis for drop foot and we will shortly present the preliminary data. Using the surface EMG of the lower limb, we have also been able to validate KAFO and HAFO orthoses in patients with spinal cord injuries using prototypes, thus establishing which one guarantees the best function and stability to the patient’s movement;
- orthopedic: we have deepened the biomechanical understanding of various joints and segmentary districts, such as the knee, correlating them with LCA reconstruction outcomes, rachis, hip, knee or foot dysfunctional syndromes… Regarding the foot, for example, we can count on our thirty-years’ experience gained in the field of application of static and dynamic pressure analysis on thousands of patients suffering from foot and over-segmental diseases. To design the most appropriate orthosis, we have conducted studies to validate the follow-ups related to certain surgical correction techniques and results in rehabilitation and orthoses, thanks to Scientific collaborations of Clinical Engineering and of Clinical experts in the field of Foot Surgery;
- osteoporosis and metabolic diseases: we are analyzing certain types of orthoses on the market to highlight their impact, benefits and side effects on the whole motor system. Regarding osteoporosis, we are analyzing a new type of device that guarantees, in the same way, a proprioceptive and less energy expenditure effect during wear and movement in daily life. This is thanks to the collaboration with a manufacturer of orthoses for the spine with clinical support of experts of this disease;
- oncology: (concerning the outcomes of demolition organ surgery, reconstructive and reparative surgery of articular segments and outcomes of lymphadenectomies that can lead to Lymphedema, a disease which interferes with the movement of the upper or lower limb). The instrumental analysis of the movement such as the kinematics, dynamics, foot pressure analysis, and surface EMG we perform allow the specialist and therapist to quantify and objectify the rehabilitation path undertaken and to validate the effectiveness of orthotics and prosthetics applied by Orthesys to patients. For example, with regard to compression socks applied to patients with lymphedema, Orthesys together with Bioengineers and Oncologists of a major National Institute of Oncological Care have joined a project this year for the construction of a pressure-measuring device at the interface between the lower limb and the compression sock in the treatment of lymphedema in order to objectively verify the effectiveness of the pressure gradient applied to the sock;
- sports: (concerning athletic performance both in amateur and professional fields). For example, in spring 2018, a Partnership was established with the Italian Athletics Federation of Lombardy (FIDAL LOMBARDIA) to study the CORE of young athletes and with the aim of exercising the prevention of injuries to the musculoskeletal system. With BTS, exclusive protocols have been applied for this Project using the dynamometer platform (PODIUM) to study the ground reaction forces through athletic tests such as the jump, the inertial sensor (G-SENSOR) for the study of mobility of the pelvis both INDOOR and OUTDOOR (on the track), the surface EMG relative to the muscular power of the spine and lower limb.
Even though it is only the beginning of this technological, social and above all cultural challenge, it can be said that the BTS Gait Analysis laboratory of Orthesys is a multi-disciplinary tool which will allow us to improve diagnosis and rehabilitation, including the validation of the orthotic or prosthetic devices that Orthesys produces. Precisely in this last area mentioned we need to work more scientifically and less artistically, though not neglecting the importance of the craftsmanship of products. For many years Orthesys has been a Training Center for students of the Triennial Faculty of Orthopedic Techniques. Newly this year,we are involving these young people with applications of the technology in addition to the theoretical methods in the GAITLAB. They in turn can enrich their education and open their minds to the technologies, recognizing that individualized orthotic products should benefit the whole locomotor system and balance, thanks to an integrated Analysis System.
….as the dear departed Friend and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Adriano Baldi said:
“Observe and study the whole system because the pain in that segment can have one or more causes far from it” …