Orthopedic Research News

Caring for patients is the focus of our team of Orthopedic and Sports Medicine physicians, athletic trainers and therapists. We strive to return you to the demands of everyday life as quickly as possible, so you’re at your best for that Friday night game, pick-up tennis match or weekly walking group.

This focus extends to a robust research portfolio aimed at advancing best-practice and evidence-based techniques for preventing and treating injury and improving health outcomes. Some of these studies are highlighted below.

Research by our joint replacement, orthopedic and orthopedic trauma surgeons focuses on better understanding disease processes and developing treatments for the musculoskeletal system. At the center of this focus is examining novel techniques and strategies for knee, hip and shoulder function and musculoskeletal diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis.

In sports medicine, our team is leading a number of innovative research projects aimed at reducing the risk of overuse injury in high-demand youth athletes. This research incorporates using video analysis and new wearable technology and evaluating their potential for preventing ACL tears in soccer players and elbow injuries in youth baseball players. Our concussion research involving athletes at the high school, collegiate and professional levels is increasing.

We are also pioneering efforts using monitoring real-time clinical outcomes in patients undergoing treatment for sports medicine conditions. New clinical outcome scores are being electronically tracked to measure recovery response from treatments, both surgical and non-surgical. These efforts will help optimize treatment algorithms for patients with sports medicine injuries.

Our Herrick-Davis Motion Analysis Lab studies the dynamic function of human joints and mechanical factors associated with degenerative joint and soft-tissue diseases. We have ongoing studies focused on understanding how the treatment of rotator cuff tears affects long-term shoulder function, and the effects of surgical reconstruction techniques on knee and elbow function.

Recent Research

Henry Ford Study: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Is Not Just an Office Workers’ Condition
A retrospective study by Orthopedic researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit finds that workers in the manufacturing and construction industries have higher incidence of the common hand, wrist injuries than office clerical workers who use computers all day. The retrospective study, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, reports that manual labor jobs that require lifting, gripping and forceful wrist motion contribute to higher rates of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Female Athletes in WNBA Don’t Return to Elite Performance for at Least 2 Years After ACL Surgery
Findings from a study by Henry Ford Sports Medicine shows that female athletes in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) required at least two years after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries and reconstructive surgery before returning to their top performance levels. In comparison, male athletes in the National Basketball Association (NBA) returned to their previous performance levels a year earlier following the same injury and surgery.

Henry Ford Study Finds Concussions Are a Risk for Young Athletes In All Sports – Not Just Football
Study from the Henry Ford Sports Medicine Research team shows that all high school athletes, not just football players, are at risk for concussions and may need longer recovery time for concussions than previously thought. The study confirms that most common sports for brain injuries were football, hockey and soccer.

Study: High School Athletes Require Longer Recovery after Concussion
As Michigan high school football players prepare for the start of practices in preparation for the 2020 season, a new study from Henry Ford’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery provides a new perspective on concussions and brain injuries. The study recently published in a nationally recognized peer-reviewed journal for orthopedic surgeons reveals that young athletes are sidelined for at least one month after suffering a concussion, longer for repeated ones.

Managing Pain After Sports Medicine Surgery
Henry Ford research shows patients can recover safely with non-opioid medicines. Study finds common sports procedures can be performed with little or no opioids for pain relief. With opioid addiction soaring in the U.S., the study provides good news that an opioid painkiller may not be needed after common sports injury procedures. A mix of no-addictive medicines may be safer and equally successful in managing pain after shoulder or knee surgery, according to Henry Ford doctors who tested a different regimen for treating post-surgical pain with a combination of non-opioid medications, including anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants and nerve pain relievers.;

The Urinary Catheter and Joint Replacement Surgery
A new study by Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit has found that joint replacement surgery can be performed safely without patients needing a Foley urinary catheter, which for years has been part of the standard practice for this type of surgery. Researchers found that patients who underwent surgery without a catheter were at no increased risk of post-surgery complications than those who did have a catheter.

Return to Play After a Concussion is 19 Days
With NFL training camps under way for the 2019 season, a Henry Ford Hospital study on concussions found that the time players are sidelined has nearly tripled in the past 20 years. Sports medicine researchers at Henry Ford evaluated data from the 2012-2015 seasons and found that players who sustained a concussion returned to play on average 19 days later. That’s the equivalent of missing about 1 ½ games.

Space Travel and Your Joints
A novel Henry Ford Hospital study of mice aboard a Russian spaceflight may raise an intriguing question for the astronauts of tomorrow: Could traveling in space be bad for your joints? Researchers found early signs of cartilage breakdown in the mice, suggesting that the reduced biomechanical forces of spaceflight are at play on the musculoskeletal system.

Better Conditioning, Throwing Mechanics Key to Fewer Youth Pitching Elbow Injuries
Young baseball pitchers can reduce their risk for elbow injuries with better conditioning and throwing mechanics.

Once Waned from Use Years Ago, Mepivacaine Shows Promise for Knee Replacement Surgery
A numbing medicine largely abandoned decades ago for pain control during surgery could be making a comeback as an effective spinal anesthetic for today’s modern-day knee replacement.

Youth Pitchers: 5 Smart Tips for Reducing Your Risk of Injury
Steps can be taken by the baseball community and parents to prevent and reduce the risk of overuse injuries in youth pitchers.

Spring Training Alert: Core, Hip/Groin Injuries Prominent among Pitchers
The study, published in the February edition of the Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery, found that core and hip/groin injuries in Major League Baseball pitchers account for 21 percent of all pitching injuries that required time on the disabled list.

Femoral Nerve Block in ACL Surgery May Cause Complications
A nerve injection commonly used for pain control during knee reconstruction surgery is associated with complications in high school and collegiate athletes.

Treatment Type Matters in Shoulder Injuries in NFL Players
Players in the National Football League who opted for surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder are at less risk of re-injury once they return to play, compared to those who don’t have surgery.

2nd Tommy John Surgery Linked to Performance, Decline, Shortened Career
Major League Baseball pitchers who underwent a second Tommy John surgery saw their performance decline and their career shortened.

Throwing Fastballs May Be Linked to Tommy Johns Surgery in MLB Pitchers
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Major League Baseball pitchers who throw a high percentage of fastballs may be at increased risk for Tommy John surgery.

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