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Pelvic girdle research – what’s Jenny up to at Staffordshire University?

Pelvic Girdle Pain PGP biomechanics

As many of you will be aware since September 2016 I have been involved in a project working with staff from Staffordshire University’s biomechanics team to develop and produce a way of accurately assessing pelvic motion. As a team, we have extensive biomechanical research experience and publications with regards to the patterns in which the ankle and lumbar spine move. We have been aiming to see if the technology we have available will track movement within the pelvic joints.

 This is the first time in the world that this has tried to be validated, there are many postulated systems in the literature, none of which have been fully accepted or standardised.

We’re also aiming to develop inter professional protocol to help pelvic girdle pain patients be assessed with a common language by multiple health care professionals; this should also help future research develop and provide a basis for further projects to take place.

The pelvis is really interesting to many clinicians and in the research literature, is an area of much debate. It is a structure that works in a similar manner to the keystone in a bridge and the pelvis itself has a predominant role in allowing you to walk and for your legs and lumbar spine to work in synchrony. It needs other structures to work nearby including that of muscles, fascia and ligaments.

At Staffordshire University, we are using technology that enables the mapping of bony segments and how they move in relation to each other and during walking (gait). Infrared cameras track markers placed on the external surfaces of the bone and help to identify the centre of each marker. This system is fully calibrated and is able to have a video synchronised over it.

We’re in the process of doing a pilot study and looking at the data we collect. Once this data has been interpreted we’ll move onto a pilot study with more subjects and more parameters. Hopefully in future we can then utilise this data with known pelvic girdle pain groups (including during different stages of pregnancy). I’m confident that if this research is conducted thoroughly we may be able to make a difference to not only the research literature but more importantly that of how we clinically assess and manage pelvic girdle pain patients.

I’ll keep you posted as to progress!