Musculoskeletal disease is the most common, costly and debilitating form of injury / illness. Over 135 million people (>46% of US population) annually report musculoskeletal disease as a primary health concern. Of these individuals, over 61 million seek medical treatment each year due to musculoskeletal injury. As a result, over $950 billion dollars (>7% of US gross national product) are spent each year on total costs associated with musculoskeletal disease.
The negative consequences of musculoskeletal injury go far beyond the initial trauma and may have life threatening consequences as 31% of men and 24% percent of women permanently stop exercise after suffering musculoskeletal injury. Many chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, neurocognitive decline, and arthritis are linked to a lack of exercise / physical activity. Thus, the negative consequences of musculoskeletal injury and disease are devastating.
To address this public health problem, the Neuromuscular (NMRL) and Sports Medicine (SMRL) Research Laboratories are focused on identifying mechanisms, risk factors and preventive solutions for musculoskeletal injury, with an emphasis on ankle, knee, and shoulder joint injuries. Located in Fetzer Hall, the NMRL and SMRL combine to form over 4,200 ft2 of research space that is fully equipped to quantify all aspects of human movement, including optical and electromagnetic motion capture systems interfaced with force plates and EMG amplifiers. These facilities also include multiple diagnostic ultrasound devices and isokinetic dynamometers for real-time assessment of muscle mechanics and stimulators for eliciting both peripheral and central neuromuscular responses. Other equipment items include accelerometers, load cells, electrogoniometers, and hand-held dynamometers. These facilities also include office space equipped with multiple computers for use by graduate students and faculty.
In addition to conducting research in the areas of musculoskeletal disease and injury the NMRL and SMRL faculty have the ability to provide a variety of services that are beneficial to the community, including non-surgical management of musculoskeletal disease and injury, orthopaedic rehabilitation, prevention of musculoskeletal injury and disease, and performance enhancement.