With so many advances in technology in the past 5 years its hard to keep up with everything. What I have noticed as of late is all of the technology that has benefits or crossover in sports medicine.
The HALO goniometer
Goniometry is a staple in the clinic and the Athletic Training room as it gives the clinician the ability to obtain objective measurements to view a patients progress. The downside to them is they are out of date, clunky, and very dependent on the user. Well the company HALO has come out with a goniometer that is completely digital, easy to read, and most importantly fast and easy to use.
Athos Wearable gear
Surface EMG's are a great way to provide instant feedback to a patient when trying to correct faults and re-educate muscles however, they don't save the information very well, there are wires all over the place and most importantly, they are expensive. Introducing Athos gear, EMG sensors woven into compression clothing that measure muscle activity and heart rate wireless through bluetooth to your mobile device. Now you have access to technology that is accurate and recordable during activity that you can watch in real time or playback so you can find out where the break down occurred during the activity or activities your patients and athletes are doing.
Now we all have heard of kinesiotape and most of us have used it. How about the same principles applied to something that is wearable and doesn't fall off the moment the athlete sweats. This would be ideal right? This is where Kinesiowear is coming into play it will be designed to mimic the motions of the muscles it is placed on to provide the benefits of kinesiotape but longer and accurate.
3d Printers in sports medicine
With 3d printing on the rise they are building everything from wrenches to prefabricated homes with 3d printing. For our purposes as individuals involved in sports medicine there are new ways that 3d printing is making the lives of ours patients better. Such as 3d printed casts or MRI images. This saves on time, cost, and for the patient the irritation of wearing a big clunky cast. In the case of the 3d printed MRI it provides valuable information for the physician as it gives them a clear view of how much damage has been done to the patients extremity before surgery or as they develop more and more biomaterials 3d printed cartilage may be available sooner rather than later.
And last but not least the use of battery operated exoskeletons to aid and assist patients who have neurological disorders or have been paralyzed. While most of us will never deal with these types of patients, there are still other applications to this technology imagine ankle braces or knee braces that assist you like the ankle assist that was developed in Japan that assists the ankle dorsiflex as you walk with a normal stride.
What do you think technology can do to further benefit us as professionals and benefit our patients as well? Is there anything else out there you have seen that you have found fascinating or innovative?
Audric Warren MS, ATC, CAFS, NASM-PES, NASM-CES