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Improving non-invasive treatment of lower limb injuries

The Targeted Interventions for Patellofemoral Pain Studies group (TIPPs), funded by Arthritis Research UK, was established in 2009 and includes colleagues from 11 Universities across four countries.

The TIPPs group, led by researchers in the Allied Health Research unit (AHRu) at UCLan, in collaboration with researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University and Edge Hill University, explored the existence of clinical sub-groups in people with knee cap (patellofemoral) pain and successfully identified three sub-groups: a weak and tight muscle sub-group, a weak and over-pronated sub-group, and a previously unidentified strong sub-group. The TIPPs group developed an algorithm that can identify clinical subgroups in patients with patellofemoral pain and showed that targeted interventions using these subgroups improve patient outcomes. In addition, our wider work on the non-surgical treatments for knee pain has helped over 50,000 patients per year across Southeast Asia and changed prescription guidelines in New Zealand.

Another aspect of our work is the use of Orthotic Walkers. This has provided evidence to support the use of these devices which was submitted as evidence along with nine other papers to the National Health Insurance system in South Korea to promote their use over traditional treatment methods, such as Plaster of Paris casting. As a result, these devices were approved for use in clinical practice. Estimates based on sales indicate that around 20,000 patients per year, who would have been treated using Plaster of Paris casting, are now being treated using Orthotic Walkers, which have been shown to provide a faster and more effective treatment in the management of ankle injuries.

Research team