Touro College’s Physical Therapy Department within the School of Health Sciences has been awarded a $10,000 grant by the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine to study the impact of a unique shoe design on musculoskeletal conditions in the lower extremities and spine.

Dr. Shira Schecter Weiner, principal investigator and associate professor in the department of physical therapy program in Manhattan, said the purpose of the study is to examine the biomechanical impact of a shoe design intended for therapeutic use. The shoe will be tested by students on healthy volunteers to better understand how it affects gait and muscle activity in the legs when walking. The shoe’s manufacturer claims it provides relief from various conditions of the foot, knee, and back.

“This study is important because many claims are made regarding various over-the-counter therapeutic devices with little data to support these claims,” Dr. Weiner said. “This is very true in the shoe industry. There is increasing need for individuals to be able to make wise self-care decisions regarding their health and well-being.”

Dr. Weiner said the manufacturer of the shoe may be able to use the results to substantiate its claims of pain relief or to modify design features.

The study will be conducted in collaboration with faculty and students from New York University’s Graduate Program of Ergonomics and Biomechanics. Dr. Ralph Garcia, associate professor in the department of physical therapy at Touro College, will be a co-investigator on the study.

The funds for the study are part of a larger National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) grant to the New York and New Jersey Education and Research Center (ERC), administered by Mount Sinai Hospital. The New York and New Jersey ERC is one of 17 centers funded throughout the United States in an effort to train the next generation of occupational health and safety experts. v


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