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US Department of Defense awards University of South Florida $1.59 million for musculoskeletal research
Date:9/22/2011

functions required of the job.

The study testing the effectiveness of high-tech, multifunctional prosthetic feet will be led by Jason Highsmith, DPT, USF assistant professor of physical therapy who specializes in research to improve prosthetic options for those who lose limbs from traumatic injury and diseases. Highsmith and colleagues at the USF School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences will evaluate how well three different types of prosthetic feet work for the rigorous and agile maneuvers soldiers must perform on the battlefield from running and jumping to dodging, crawling and climbing.

The trial will involve soldiers who wear prostheses for below-the-knee amputations the most common kind of lower limb loss.

"A tactical unit can only move as fast as its slowest member," Highsmith said. "This will be one of the first studies to compare the physical performance of highly mobile amputee soldiers using optimal components with that of non-amputeesWe hope to identify which prosthetic foot may be best suited for military applications."

Scientifically determining which prosthesis comes closest to a real foot when performing battlefield maneuvers is important, Highsmith said, because a person with an amputation uses more energy than someone with a natural foot for comparable movements at the same speed.

The number of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan with deployment-related amputations continues to rise dramatically up from 88 in 2009 to 182 last year, according to the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center. Along with higher survival rates, better prosthetics and treatments have improved amputees' ability to regain mobility. More of these amputee soldiers than ever before are seeking to return to the front lines.

The USF researchers will test the three commercially-available, latest generation prostheses all integrating varying degrees of rotational, shock absorbing and energy returning character
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Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
abaier@health.usf.edu
813-974-3300
University of South Florida (USF Health)
Source:Eurekalert  

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US Department of Defense awards University of South Florida $1.59 million for musculoskeletal research
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