Shriners Hospitals for Children – Los Angeles Physical Therapist Designs New Brace to Help Cerebral Palsy Patients
By Steven Brand, PR Los Angeles, CA. 2008 - Physical therapist Christine Caron has worked for Shriners Hospitals for Children – Los Angeles for nine years. During this time she has developed a passion for research and improving the treatment programs for helping her young patients. She says, “One of the things that I love about working for Shriners Hospitals is that they give you the time and resources to develop new ideas and projects.” Chris has used this to its fullest by developing an innovative new brace that she designed to help Cerebral Palsy patients who have crouch gait. Crouch gait is one of the most prevalent and troublesome movement abnormalities among children with Cerebral Palsy. It is characterized by excessively bent knees during walking. This substantially increases the energy requirements of walking and, if not corrected, can lead to chronic knee pain and joint degeneration.
Chris has been working since November of 2007 to develop a new type of brace that helps parents provide the necessary physical therapy exercise program for their child. Working with Roger Weber, CO, a certified Orthotist from the hospital’s orthotics department, she developed a device simplifies the form and technique that the young patient uses and helps to decrease their crouch gait symptoms. Chris’ new design is being evaluated for it’s effectiveness through the hospital’s Institutional Review Board. An institutional review board (IRB), also known as an independent ethics committee (IEC) or ethical review board (ERB) is a committee that has been formally designated to approve, monitor, and review biomedical and behavioral research involving humans with the alleged aim to protect the rights and welfare of the research subjects.
Chris is cautiously optimistic that her new brace will be approved and then be able to move onto the next phase of its development. This will include further evaluation at the Los Angeles Shriners Hospital and then a multi-centered study involving several hospitals. “There’s still a long ways to go before the brace will be put into wide use”, says Chris. “I’m still in the early stages of development and it will be several years before the brace is perfected.” Chris, however, is confident that no matter what happens in the future, her work at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Los Angeles will continue to benefit thousand of children with Cerebral Palsy and other orthopaedic conditions.