Orthotic devices (sometimes called braces or calipers) are widely used to help with knee problems experienced by people with a range of neuromuscular conditions including Polio. However there is no agreement about which is the best orthosis for knee instability and we don’t know what types of devices are most commonly used in the NHS and how much they cost. In April the National Institute for Health Research funded us to investigate these issues. We are a team of researchers at the University of York and wanted to let you know that this research is underway. You can follow the project blog http://kneeorthotics.blogspot.co.uk and on twitter @OKIS_York
This is what we plan to do
We will do an interview study to gather together the views of people with neuromuscular disease who have been fitted with an orthotic device for knee instability. We will carry out interviews with people in their home and also meet with some groups of patients.
We will do a systematic review. This will bring together the results of all the previous research on the benefits and any harms from using orthotic devices for knee instability in adults. This will tell us more certainly what is currently known about the usefulness of the devices.
We will do a survey of health care professionals who fit people with devices for knee instability to find out about what is currently happening in the NHS. We will ask people about what types of devices they use most often and how they decide which one to use. We will also find out how much the devices cost.
Finally, we will pull together the information from the three studies to find out what the important issues are for future research.
Researchers and health professionals from five different organisations are involved in the project: the University of York, Nottingham University, University of Strathclyde, Kingston University and Queen Mary’s Hospital Roehampton. Our blog will include detailed information of each stage of the project including the consultation activities. Feedback and comments via the blog are very welcome.