Current Research

An understanding of the mechanical behaviour of the soft tissues that constitute the musculoskeletal system is an ongoing, fundamental problem in biomechanics. This information is crucial for a number of research purposes, including but not limited to the study of the disease etiology, injury and healing mechanisms, the development of new replacement biomaterials, and for determining the efficacy of clinical interventions. In addition, many research problems in biomechanics and orthopaedic medicine incorporate some method of estimating either the strain or load in soft tissues surrounding the joints.

My current research is focused on developing methods of quantifying the mechanical behaviour of soft tissues, and applying the results to study the etiology of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and the biggest musculoskeletal problem in the Western Hemisphere. More than 3 million Canadians suffer from this debilitating disease (approximately one in every six people). Frequently, clinical and radiographic signs become apparent only after irreversible degenerative changes are already present (i.e. the patient is already a candidate for joint replacement). Intervention is difficult without some earlier clinical signs. As well, a true understanding of the disease remains lacking. Increased comprehension of not only normal but also diseased functioning of orthopaedic soft tissue will greatly enhance our chances of intervention, treatment and cure.

Dr. Karen Gordon
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I hope to develop methods (in-vitro and eventually in-vivo) to study the deformation of tissue that surrounds the knee (and other) joints that are commonly afflicted with osteoarthritis.  Through this study of the functioning of these tissues, and how function is altered with disease, treatment options may be optimized, and diagnosis may occur earlier, resulting in improved patient outcomes.

 

Happy runner with no knee pain and no osteoarthritis!

Illustration of knee osteoarthritis

An unhappy runner with knee pain from osteoarthritis