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Experts investigate knee and back conditions

27 September 2017

Elite Runners

Cardiff University experts who are carrying out vital research into knee osteoarthritis and back pain will be on hand to explain their work at the Cardiff Half Marathon.

Researchers from the University-based Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre are investigating how best to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate such conditions.

Members of the research team will be at the Cardiff University marquee in the race village at the half marathon on Sunday 1 October and during the related Festival of Running on Saturday 30 September.

Dr Valerie Sparkes, from the School of Healthcare Sciences, said: “Currently there is no clear evidence available to either support or contradict the theory that running causes joint problems including knee osteoarthritis.

“However there is overwhelming evidence that exercise can help to reduce the pain and stiffness that is very common in knee osteoarthritis and back pain...”

“Advances at the Centre are showing promising developments in identifying pharmaceuticals to prevent or slow osteoarthritis following acute injuries and understanding how loading through the joints in activities such as running may affect knee osteoarthritis and other joint disorders.”

Professor Valerie Sparkes Interim Professional Head: Physiotherapy / Director: Biomechanics and Bioengineering Research Centre Versus Arthritis
Motion capture device

The Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre’s stand at the half marathon will contain information about the research as well as demonstrations of some of its work, including motion capture to promote a new Musculoskeletal Biomechanics Research Facility (MSKBRF) that is part of the School of Engineering.

Dr Philippa Jones carries out research at MSKBRF into whether wearable technologies - small sensors attached to the body - can increase our understanding of how people with knee osteoarthritis perform rehabilitation exercises following knee replacement surgery.

She will be on hand to explain her research and demonstrate sensors that she uses to measure how people move.

“I will explain why my research is important and how the runners and their families and friends can get involved as healthy volunteers,” she said.

“Healthy volunteers are a really important part of my research as I need to be able to understand how these people move so that we can compare with patients and ultimately, map patient progress.”

Dr Philippa Jones Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre

Cardiff University is title sponsor of the Cardiff Half Marathon and has committed to supporting the event until at least 2020.

For further information about the Arthritis Research UK Biomechanics and Bioengineering Centre please contact or call 029 2087 5419 or visit the website.

For more information about MSKBRF please contact Dr Philippa Jones on or 029 2251 0237.

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