FEIT Research Project Database

Foot deformities in children with cerebral palsy

Project Leader: David Ackland
Collaborators: Dr Elyse Passmore, Murdoch Children's Research Institute Assoc Prof Erich Rutz, Murdoch Children's Research Institute
Primary Contact: David Ackland (dackland@unimelb.edu.au)
Disciplines: Biomedical Engineering

Foot and ankle deformities are common in children with cerebral palsy and can cause pain as well as have a severe impact on a child’s walking. To improve function and reduce pain, these children may undergo surgical correction. Structural deformities of the foot are assessed pre and post-operatively using radiology. While foot function can be evaluated through a range of measures from 3D motion analysis and plantar pressure measures during walking, the influence of structural deformities and corrective surgery on foot function, plantar pressure distribution and overall gait remain poorly understood. This project will explore methods for analysing foot function from 3D motion analysis and plantar pressure data, and their relation to structural measures from radiology and physical examination. These methods will be used to compare foot structure and function pre and post-surgery and will ultimately serve as an objective clinical measure for assessing and grading foot deformities in children.   

This project can be tailored to the interests of the successful applicant. Areas that may be explored are machine learning approaches for image analysis of plantar pressure data, musculoskeletal modelling and relationship between clinical findings and motion analysis data.

This project is a collaboration between the Hugh Williamson Gait Analysis Laboratory, Royal Children’s Hospital, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Melbourne. This will involve spending time at the Royal Children’s Hospital and interacting with children with disabilities and their family.