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Hajer Almksusi, Kassie Lee, Julia Van Horn, Lauren Wilch, Sarah Yang
At-Home Ankle Distraction Device for Independent Use
Over 2 million people experience ankle sprains in the US each year, and 3.4% of adults over 50 have been diagnosed with ankle osteoarthritis. Both of these scenarios result in ankle joint stiffness, which can cause extreme pain when walking, a limited range of motion, and even ankle surgery later in life. One treatment that significantly reduces this joint pain is ankle distraction. This is a technique performed in physical therapy that has been shown to temporarily reduce pain while walking in patients with ankle osteoarthritis. Because the pain relief is temporary, patients have to wait until their physical therapy appointments to experience the benefits of this treatment. We have designed a portable, independent use device that can provide ankle distraction at home to improve joint mobilization and reduce ankle pain. The design consists of velcro straps to secure the leg and foot, and a pneumatic system to provide the force to separate the ankle joint. The device is operated using a hand pump to ensure simple operation. On average, arthritis patients are spending over $2,000 per year on medical costs, and we hope that our device can decrease the cost of living with this condition. In addition to providing pain relief at home, it could potentially decrease the number of physical therapy appointments needed and could even delay the need for ankle surgery.