Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unlocking The Mechanics -- And Mysteries -- Of Joint Pain

Date:
December 7, 2007
Source:
University of Calgary
Summary:
When you think of towering skyscrapers and large bridges spanning deep valleys, you wouldn't normally link them to the joints and tendons throughout your body that allow you to move. One researcher does. It turns out that many of the same design principles are at work.

Medical scientist Dr. Gail Thornton is applying design principles developed by engineers to treat repetitive stress injuries in joints.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Calgary

When you think of towering skyscrapers and large bridges spanning deep valleys, you wouldn’t normally link them to the joints and tendons throughout your body that allow you to move. Dr. Gail Thornton does.

It turns out that many of the same design principles are at work. Thornton is both an engineer and a medical researcher and she’s breaking new ground in an area of medicine that has eluded most practitioners. The work she’s doing now could lead to new treatments for people suffering from repetitive stress injuries, a very common type of injury.

“We need to understand more about what’s happening to the way ligaments and tendons perform their functions; only then can we try to intervene and prevent damage from happening or improve therapies,” says Thornton, an assistant professor in the University of Calgary’s faculties of Medicine and Engineering, who carries out her research in the McCaig Centre for Joint Injury and Arthritis.

There are still many unknowns about the way our complex system of ligaments, tendons and bones work together and, when injured, how they heal best. Thornton’s applying design principles used more commonly by engineers to uncover some of the mysteries.

Understanding the mechanics of the knee

Thornton’s specific focus is knee ligaments and their response to damage, such as an injury from repeatedly putting too much stress — or load — onto the ligaments over long periods of time. When one ligament is damaged in the knee — think about removing a load-bearing wall from a building — the remaining three ligaments in the knee must carry the weight, making the person more prone to a bad injury.

When baseball pitchers make each throw, the rotator cuff tendons in their shoulders have increased loads placed on them. Thornton’s research could lead to new ways to lessen the damage to them or better ways to treat their injuries.

Because she works so closely with other doctors in a vast range of disciplines, her research can be more easily incorporated into real-world treatments.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Calgary. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Calgary. "Unlocking The Mechanics -- And Mysteries -- Of Joint Pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071206162651.htm>.
University of Calgary. (2007, December 7). Unlocking The Mechanics -- And Mysteries -- Of Joint Pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071206162651.htm
University of Calgary. "Unlocking The Mechanics -- And Mysteries -- Of Joint Pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071206162651.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins