The project, titled “Development of a Hamstrings Muscle Stretching Device for Older Adults and Individuals with Neurological Disorders,” is under the direction of co-principal investigators Dr. Vicki Stemmons Mercer and Dr. Richard Faldowski, both Associate Professors with DAHS, and Dr. Russell King, Professor and Director, and Dr. Ron Aman, Research Scholar, with NCSU. Dr. Kendra Heatwole Shank, a 2013 graduate of the UNC Occupational Science PhD program; Gabrielle Scronce, a third-year UNC Doctor of Physical Therapy student; and Austin Isaacs and Spencer Thompson, NCSU Engineering graduate students, are also assisting with the research.
Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of static stretching programs for increasing the range of hamstrings muscle extensibility, but many older adults and individuals with neurological disorders are unable to achieve an effective hamstrings muscle stretch and thus cannot obtain the benefits that these stretches provide. Researchers with this project seek to further the development of a prototype hamstrings muscle stretching device that will assist these individuals.
The research will focus on obtaining feedback on the device from potential end users, using that feedback to modify the device, and obtaining preliminary evidence concerning the feasibility and effectiveness of use of the device by target populations.