How New Technology is Improving Physical Therapy

19 March 2020

Recently, Johnny was able to team up with clinicians from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Sports Medicine Division, United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, to write a paper on “How Technology is Improving Physical Therapy” in Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine. The paper includes sections on Blood Flow Restriction, exoskeletons for high energy lower extremity trauma, force plates, motion capture and biofeedback, musculoskeletal ultrasound, instrumented insoles, patient-centered tools, and personalized reference charts. It covers musculoskeletal injuries ranging from Sports Medicine to Total Joint Arthroplasty.

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Here are some interesting snippets from the paper:

Blood Flow Restriction: “Since the majority of orthopedic patients experience periods of disuse from injury or surgery, BFR appears to be a promising new technique to mitigate the loss of muscle that has historically been an accepted consequence of injury.”

Exoskeletons for High Energy Lower Extremity Trauma: “The IDEO utilizes a foot-plate with a rollover design to allow engagement from heel strike to toe-off to load posterior struts that simulate plantarflexion torque. Additionally, minimal ankle and foot range of motion is allowed in the IDEO which helps reduce pain from sources like post-traumatic osteoarthritis.”

Force Plates: “During rehabilitation, deficits in kinetic performance are identified via a comparison of force during bilateral tasks. These deficits are targeted in rehabilitation or training plans and monitored as outcome measures.”

Motion Capture and Video Biofeedback: “Real-time video or motion capture biofeedback increases a patient’s awareness of their movement signature. Patients can interact with live motion capture displays to modify or correct their movement based on clinician cues.”

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound in Soft Tissue Injury: “We can now visualize soft tissue healing, quantify muscle architecture, and evaluate changes in muscle stiffness and density. These innovations are changing the way we understand muscle recovery from injury—an important development that will improve clinical decision making.”

Instrumented Insoles: Use of Real-time Feedback to Improve Patient Outcomes: “Instrumented insoles provide a means of assessing movement quality during a variety of activities occurring in real life environments using varying feedback schedules for optimal motor learning.”

Patient-centered Care in Total Joint Arthroplasty: Tools for Personalized Care Before and After Surgery: ” The Arthroplasty Candidacy Help Engine (ACHE) tool utilizes regression modeling with common PROMs to determine a patient’s likelihood of having a successful outcome after TJA”

Personalized Reference Charts: a Novel Tool for Personalized Care: “This approach matches individual patients with similar patients from historical data and utilizes the recovery data from these historical patients to create a personalized estimate of the recovery trajectory for the individual. This “people-like-me” methodology has been proposed as a useful tool for informing patient expectations and postoperative monitoring in patients recovering from orthopedic surgery.”

The journal was nice enough to provide Johnny with a link that can be shared to access the text for a short time. Just like the toilet paper and paper towels on the store shelves, this link won’t last long but you can find it here.


Owens, J. G., Rauzi, M. R., Kittelson, A., Graber, J., Bade, M. J., Johnson, J., & Nabhan, D. (2020). How New Technology Is Improving Physical Therapy. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine, 1-12.