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New free-to-use software to improve lower limb physiotherapy

Person having physio on leg

Researchers at The Open University (OU) and Cardiff University have proved that freely available software works to help monitor physiotherapy for people recovering from lower limb surgery and conditions.

OU PhD student, Riasat Islam in the OU’s Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering, is lead author on a paper which has just been published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research on mHealth and uHealth.

Riasat, with support from his OU supervisors, Dr Simon Holland, Professor Blaine Price and Dr Paul Mulholland used an algorithm developed by researchers at the Cardiff University’s Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis to compare their custom-made software, MoJoXlab, against expensive proprietary software that can monitor an individual’s progress when recovering from hip, knee and ankle injuries and conditions.

“We are proposing a free alternative and have developed a prototype that can be easily used by clinicians such as physios, sports scientists or anyone who is interested in lower-limb movement analysis using wearable inertial sensors,” he said.

In biomechanics, sports science, physiotherapy and rehabilitative care, accurate movement analysis is vital to inform decisions around performance, recovery health and rehabilitation. However, at present, such measurement requires access either to expensive laboratory facilities or costly proprietary hardware and software.

This paper establishes for the first time that freely available software, developed as part of the research, together with widely available low-cost hardware can be used to accurately measure and analyse limb movement to the required clinical accuracy. This has the potential to help revolutionise physiotherapy as both the patient and clinician will be able to monitor and accurately measure progress.

The software has been validated against 27 healthy individuals and 20 knee surgery patients and it shows very high correlation to the expensive proprietary software.

“For people recovering from lower limb injuries, physiotherapists can use wearable sensors and MoJoXlab software to analyse their movements more effectively,” said Riasat.

Read more about OU research in Computing

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