Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How to help heal an injured joint

21.03.2011
Knee patients need patience: injuries to these joints take weeks to heal. Fraunhofer researchers have now developed a system that documents the healing process in detail. This motivates patients and at the same time helps doctors to fine-tune the course of treatment.

There’s nothing like the sheer delight of sun and snow on a skiing trip. But a momentary lapse of concentration can have nasty consequences. Taking a tumble on the slopes often causes injuries – most commonly to the knee.

Weeks can go by before knees regain their full function, and patients are obliged to re-learn how to walk. The time it takes for the knee to heal is directly related to how well it reacts to the chosen treatment. But how is an orthopedic doctor to evaluate the healing process? And how are patients to know what progress they are making? Currently, doctors can only perform limited function tests, whilst patients are obliged to rely on their own subjective feelings.

Now researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart have developed a system for gathering exact data on knee mobility. It shows patients as well as medical staff how the joint is doing. “It not only lets sufferers see how their healing process is coming along; it also means doctors can tell straight away whether they need to adapt the treatment,” says Dipl.-Ing. Bernhard Kleiner of Fraunhofer IPA. “This can give patients a psychological boost.” They might not feel they are getting any better, but the system highlights every little improvement in knee mobility. “And that’s very motivating,” says Kleiner.

This is how the novel approach for monitoring the treatment works: Special sensors are placed in a kind of bracket that is integrated into the bandage. These register the knee’s range of movement over a period of time to determine exactly how patients are moving their knee. A new piece of software evaluates these data and presents them in an easy-to-understand format. It sounds pretty simple but it was a tough challenge for the engineers, because such angular measurement systems have only ever been used in industry up to now. The central question was how to place the sensors onto the human body without inconveniencing the patient. The answer, researchers found, lay in using lightweight materials and miniaturizing the sensors, which fall into two categories: angular measurement systems that are based on magnetic principles; and acceleration and rate-of-rotation sensors.

Depending on the injury and treatment, the system not only records the joint’s range of movement but can also determine to what degree it rotates and what forces are acting upon it. The sensors observe movements and store data non-stop. This allows doctors to observe how the knee’s range of movement changes over time, so they can recognize trends and, where necessary, adjust the treatment. What is more, the various fittings for the sensor systems have been designed by the researchers not to restrict freedom of movement in any way, meaning patients do not even notice that their joint is being monitored.

“We would like to apply the measurement of human kinematics to other parts of the body in future,” says Kleiner, and the Fraunhofer researchers have already set their sights on the shoulder and the hips. However, these joints are even more demanding because the system will have to measure their movement about all three axes. To achieve this, engineers are coupling 3-D sensor systems with appropriate software. Visitors to the MEDTEC Europe trade show (March 22-24, 2011, Hall 6, Booth 6211) will have a chance to see the experts demonstrating how mobile joint monitoring works.

Bernhard Kleiner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2010-2011/15/how-to-help-heal-an-injured-joint.jsp

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>