Introducing… the Joint Action Research Laboratory

JAR_Image 1

As a therapist treating joint injuries and/or disease to improve joint function, do you wonder how that ligament stress test translates into tolerance during dynamic activities? How about the brace or tape job that you provide or the strengthening exercises you prescribe? Is it helping to keep the joint in question more stable during functional activities. Did you know that one of the primary reasons people with knee osteoarthritis self limit their physical activity is lack of confidence in their joint and instability (1-4) ? How about the physiotherapist teaching a stroke survivor to walk again, would it not be great to know that they can respond to dynamic perturbations?   Think of having someone walking along, or perhaps running, and with precise control unknown to the patient, the ground over which they walk/run tilts up/down or translates from side to side. Now imagine at this exact moment you are capturing three-dimensional limb motions using state-of-the-art motion capture equipment and muscle activation using the latest surface electromyography technology. A pipe dream? Perhaps, but not for long.

Earlier this year, I was awarded the Canadian Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leadership award to establish the Joint Actin Research (JAR) Laboratory in the School of Physiotherapy. With support from the Faculty of Health Professions, Dalhousie University and the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust, this provides the catalyst for rejuvenating our musculoskeletal research structure within the School. Equipment is coming from the Netherlands, United States and Canada to make this happen. Renovations are set to begin this summer. I will be using this blog to provide ongoing updates, so please tune in. For a sneak peak at the equipment that will be used in the new lab visit;

Forcelink for information on the R-Mill Dual Belt instrumented perturbation treadmill

Qualisys for information on the Motion Capture System

If there is anyone interested in finding out more about the new JAR lab and research initiatives, please contact me.


1. Fitzgerald GK, Piva SR, and Irrgang JJ. Reports of joint instability in knee osteoarthritis: its prevalence and relationship to physical function. Arthritis Rheum 2004;51(6):941-6.

2. Schmitt LC, Fitzgerald GK, Reisman AS, and Rudolph KS. Instability, laxity, and physical function in patients with medial knee osteoarthritis. Phys Ther 2008;88(12):1506-1516.

3. Knoop J, van der Leeden M, van der Esch M, Thorstensson CA, Gerritsen M, Voorneman RE, Lems WF, Roorda LD, Dekker J, and Steultjens MP. Association of lower muscle strength with self-reported knee instability in osteoarthritis of the knee: Results from the Amsterdam Osteoarthritis Cohort. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 2012;64(1):38-45.

4. van der Esch M, Knoop J, van der Leeden M, Voorneman R, Gerritsen M, Reiding D, Romviel S, Knol DL, Lems WF, Dekker J, and Roorda LD. Self-reported knee instability and activity limitations in patients with knee osteoarthritis: results of the Amsterdam osteoarthritis cohort. Clin Rheumatol 2012;31(10):1505-10.



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