For developing a better way to assess the level of instability in the knee joint resulting from a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
People who suffer a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can look forward to faster, more focused treatment thanks to a new diagnostic tool developed by David Labbe during his doctoral research at the École de technologie supérieure in Montréal. The patented Knee Glide Analyzer combines sensors and software to precisely image and analyze the movement of the bones around the knee joint. This innovative combination of engineering, medicine and information technology has earned Dr. Labbe the top prize in NSERC’s 2010 Innovation Challenge Awards.
Torn ACLs are common sports injuries that result in varying degrees of looseness and instability in more than 10,000 Canadians per year. Until now, the “pivot shift” test, a subjective assessment based on manual manipulation of the knee, has been a practitioner’s only option to determine the functional state of the knee and, from there, the best choice of treatment. The Knee Glide Analyzer allows for an objective, consistent measurement that relies less on the practitioner’s experience or level of training.
The result could reduce the proportion of people who are routinely referred to orthopedic specialists by more than half. Those assessed with less serious injuries can immediately opt for simpler treatment. The Knee Glide Analyzer can also be used to help train new practitioners. The technology is taking the next steps towards commercialization with the help of Emovi, a Canadian company specializing in evaluating joints.