UQ Physiotherapy lecturer investigates textured shoe insoles to treat mobility in MS patients
University of Queensland research is investigating the effects textured shoe insoles have on walking problems associated with multiple sclerosis.
A $120,000 Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Research Australia grant will enable UQ Physiotherapy School lecturer Dr Anna Hatton to examine the potential of an inexpensive insole to improve the mobility of people with MS.
Dr Hatton said many people with MS had problems with walking, which made day-to-day activities difficult and often led to falls. She said walking problems in MS could result from a combination of typical symptoms related to muscles, nerves and senses.
“The key to improving mobility is to use a range of different treatment techniques which address each of these symptoms,” she said. “Improving walking ability is of primary importance to maintaining health, independence and quality of life for people living with MS.”
Dr Hatton and her international research team (spanning Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom) will investigate whether a specially designed insole which enhances sensory information at the feet could boost the walking ability of people affected by MS.
They will analyse how about 180 people with MS walk over different surfaces after wearing the insoles for three months.
“We will explore whether wearing the insoles changes the way the body moves or the leg and trunk muscles work during walking,” the UQ Physiotherapy School lecturer said. “We will also monitor any changes in the perception of foot sensation and the awareness of foot position, to help better understand how the insoles may bring about their effects on walking.”
The research builds on studies by Dr Hatton and the team over the past eight years on the effects of textured shoe insoles on walking and balance in older adults prone to falling, people with Parkinson’s disease and preliminary studies with MS.
Dr Hatton’s funding was awarded as part of MS Research Australia’s 2014 grant round of $1.537 million Australia-wide.
MS Research Australia is the largest national non-government funder of MS research in Australia.
UQ will floodlight the Forgan Smith building red in May for MS Awareness Month.
About the UQ Physiotherapy School
The UQ Physiotherapy School offers a learning environment and has assessment requirements designed to facilitate the advanced and intensive learning appropriate for a master’s-level program. The Master of Physiotherapy Studies introduces graduates to the profession of physiotherapy and its key concepts in intensive mode during an initial summer semester.
Program title: Master of Physiotherapy Studies
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: November
Program duration: 2 years
Application deadline: May 31, 2014
To be eligible to apply to UQ’s physiotherapy program, you must have
- completed an undergraduate degree (preferably in the fields of human kinetics/kinesiology or physical or biological sciences);
- have achieved a minimum cumulative GPA of 4.0 on a 7-point scale in your university studies; and
- completed the Master of Physiotherapy Studies prerequisite subjects as follows:
– one full year, or two semesters, of human anatomy (including systems and musculoskeletal anatomy); and
– one full year, or two semesters, of human physiology (including systems and integrative physiology); and
– one semester of psychology;
– and one semester of statistics.