Jake Bowd, 3rd Year PhD Student, Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Facility, School of Engineering: OATech+ Work Placement Trainee. PhD Supervisors: Prof. Cathy Holt and Dr Gemma Whatling.
During the last third of 2019, I spent 6 weeks at the Human Movement Biomechanics Research Group at KU Leuven, led by Professor Ilse Jonkers, to gain an appreciation and understanding for musculoskeletal modelling and its applicability to clinical translation. The project aimed to quantify knee joint medial-lateral contact forces (KCF) in patients undergoing high tibial osteotomy (HTO); a surgical operation for which the primarily focus is to reduce knee pain and to decrease the development of medial knee osteoarthritis. Data collected at the Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Facility (MSKBRF) at Cardiff University’s School of Engineering was used in combination with the expertise from the Human Movement Biomechanics Research Group at KU Leuven using musculoskeletal modelling workflow to better understand joint loading. This project has already led to two submissions on preliminary findings to world-renowned international conferences. This knowledge can also be applied to different cohorts of individuals such as healthy individuals, individuals with symptomatic knee OA, individuals undergoing HTO, as well as individuals undergoing total knee replacements (TKR) to better understand knee joint loading following an intervention. This approach has shown promising signs in understanding knee joint loading distribution, which cannot be obtained from external joint moments which are commonly used within the current literature. Clinically, this is critically important to understand as patient specific outcomes are often quantified by external joint loading to determine success of surgical intervention, which may not accurately describe the KCF. This research has led to an alternative approach to apply to understanding HTO surgery as well as non-invasive techniques such as gait retraining and will add depth and knowledge to my PhD thesis. I am thankful to OATech+ Network for funding such an opportunity, Prof Ilse Jonkers and team at KU Leuven for the very warm welcome and to my supervisors, Prof Holt and Dr Whatling, for their continued support, patience and encouragement throughout my PhD journey.