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Researchers win award for best clinical paper in orthopedic physical therapy

University of Delaware researchers have won the American Physical Therapy Association's award for the best clinical paper in orthopedics published in 2008.

Their study focused on one of the most controversial topics in sports medicine-the management of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries.

Each year, nearly 250,000 Americans, particularly athletes, rupture their ACL, which is one of the major ligaments of the knee.

The authors included Wendy Hurd, a Ph.D. graduate of the UD Biomechanics and Movement Science Program, Michael Axe, clinical professor of physical therapy at UD and an orthopedic surgeon at First State Orthopedics in Newark, Del., and Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Physical Therapy.

The team received the 2009 Steven J. Rose Excellence in Research Award from APTA's Orthopaedic Section on Feb. 11 at the association's meeting in Las Vegas.

Their article, "A 10-Year Prospective Trial of a Patient Management Algorithm and Screening Examination for Highly Active Individuals with Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: Part 2: Determinants of Dynamic Knee Stability," was published in the January 2008 issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine.

It was one of three papers from the team that reported on a 10-year sample of patients.

Should a patient with an ACL injury undergo surgery or not? Although ACL reconstruction is the answer for most patients, a small percentage can make a full recovery without surgery.

Building on past University of Delaware research, the clinical team devised a screening method to identify patients who are the best candidates for rehabilitation through physical therapy.

The approach is based on the stability of the patient's knee while doing a series of simple hop tests.

The tool, which has been tested on 10 years of data, will aid physicians and patients in making the decision about whether safe return to activity is possible without ACL reconstructive surgery.


Contact: Tracey Bryant
University of Delaware

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