December 10, 2014
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Haptic biofeedback improved lower-extremity partial weight-bearing compliance after surgery

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Compared with conventional physical therapy methods, use of haptic biofeedback after lower-extremity orthopedic trauma and surgery was superior in improving compliance with lower-extremity partial weight bearing, according to study results.

Researchers randomly assigned 30 healthy, asymptomatic participants to receive verbal instruction, bathroom scale training or haptic feedback. The researchers instructed participants to restrict lower-extremity weight bearing in a walking boot with crutches to 25 lbs, with an acceptable range of 15 to 35 lbs. Weight bearing in all groups was measured with a separate validated commercial system, and although a custom weight-bearing sensor and biofeedback system were attached to all participants, only those in the haptic biofeedback group were given a vibrotactile signal if they exceeded the acceptable range.

Results showed the haptic biofeedback group placed the least amount of weight on their lower extremity at 22.4 lbs, followed by the bathroom scale group at 43.8 lbs and the verbal instruction group at 60.3 lbs. Looking at the results as a percentage of body weight, the haptic biofeedback group averaged 14.5%, whereas the bathroom scale group averaged 32.5% and the verbal instruction group averaged 40.2%, according to the researchers.

Disclosures: Fan is a paid consultant for Farus LLC. Grauer is a paid consultant for Alphatec, Bioventus, DePuy, Stryker, Transgenomic, Afferngy, Powered Research, Medtronic, KCl and Smith & Nephew.