Courtney's Corner Physical Therapy Research

Courtney’s Corner: Studying Gait, Balance & Hip Strength in Children with NF1

The kids are back in school, fall sports are in full swing, and Halloween is right around the corner – where does the time go? The last few months have been busy for me because we recently started recruiting patients to participate in a new study. The study was designed to determine whether a relationship exists between gait, balance, and hip strength in children with NF1.
This study, made possible through an extensive collaboration between the Washington University NF Center, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Therapy Services, and the Maryville University Physical Therapy Program, has the potential to provide important new information about gait in children with NF1, and highlight possible areas of future research in this at-risk population.
IMG_5759For those of you who have read my previous blog entries, you know I like to encourage daily activities and sports which focus on core strength, balance, and coordination. This is because many of the children with NF1 who I see in the St. Louis Children’s Hospital NF Clinical Program struggle in these areas. While there have been some previous studies on this topic, it primarily sheds light on the need for further research to better understand these issues.
We are currently finishing our data collection this week, and I look forward to working with the therapists from Maryville University over the upcoming months to analyze the results and derive meaningful conclusions. I have high hopes that this study will direct future gait, balance and strength research in children with NF1, as well as lead to the development of future treatments for those who struggle with gait abnormalities, balance concerns and decreased hip strength.
Courtney Dunn, PT, DPT