Capstone Projects

2023-2024 Capstone Projects


2022-2023 Capstone Project Abstracts

The Link Between Intrinsic Foot Strength and Gross Body Stability Patterns
Mentors: Professor Jay Dicharry 

Summary: The aim is to examine the link between foot strength and whole-body balance strategies. Do people with better foot strength stabilize their body differently, and how does a history of repetitive ankle sprains impact whole body stability?

Professional Experiences of Physical Therapists Who Identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC)
Mentor: Dr. Kathryn Lent

Summary: The purpose of this study is to obtain information from physical therapists who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a person of color about their lived experiences in professional contexts, including in their professional academic, employment, and continuing education roles.

Pickleball for Parkinson's 
Mentors: Drs. Carol-Ann Nelson & Amy Briley

Summary: The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of an 8-week pickleball-based group skills and wellness program in people with Parkinson's on physical outcome measures (6-minute walk test, 10-meter walk test, four square step test and Mini-BEST balance test) as well as quality of life.

Trail Running Biomechanics
Mentor: Dr. JJ Hannigan

Summary: Trail running is quickly increasing in popularity, but very little research has been performed on trail runners outside of the lab.  The purpose of this study is to compare running biomechanics on the road vs. single track trail in both a traditional and maximal shoe.

Investigation of Dual Task Ability Across Multiple Cognitive Domains in Persons With Concussion and COVID
Mentor: Dr. Shannon Compton & Kelsea Hulstrom

Summary: This research aims to determine if protocols for assessing dual task impairments post-concussion should include assessments across different cognitive domains, and how a recent Covid diagnosis may affect concussion symptoms and recovery. Results may indicate areas for future research in individualizing treatment plans to maximize return to work, school, or play for persons with concussion.

Comparison of the Effect of Standard of Care Exercise Program to Self-Selected Exercise on Compliance in People with Parkinson's Disease
Mentors: Drs. Erin Fitzgerald & David Seck

Summary: Current research demonstrates that people with Parkinson’s Disease can have challenges with compliance with exercise programs. This project aims to develop a program based on identifying barriers for individual participants and creating a program tailored to their individual needs with an emphasis on engaging in enjoyable activities.

Maximal Shoe Design & Running Biomechanics
Mentor: Drs. JJ Hannigan & Christine Pollard

Summary: While the FORCE Laboratory has done considerable work on running biomechanics in maximal shoes over the past 5 years, we still know little about how the midsole construction of maximal shoes affects running biomechanics.  Therefore, the purpose of this study is to compare running biomechanics in maximal shoes with a firm and soft midsole, as well as a rockered and non-rockered midsole.  

Shoulder Proprioception and Physical Therapy
Mentors: Dr. David Phillips

Summary: The presence of shoulder pain negatively influences the ability to accurately determine joint position without vision.  Therefore, the purpose of the study is to determine the effectiveness of physical therapy rehabilitation to restore proprioception in participants with shoulder pain. 

Standardization of Breast Cancer-Related Lymphedema Limb Circumference and Volume Calculation
Mentor: Dr. Meredith Wampler-Kuhn

Summary: Breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL) impacts approximately 65% of women treated for breast cancer. There is a gap in the literature describing whether circumference-based volume calculations using different increments of circumference measures are interchangeable.  Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine if limb circumference with frustum calculations of volume are interchangeable when different increments of circumference measures are used.


Foot Factors in Pickleball Players
Mentor: Drs. Marcey Keefer Hutchison & Peter Schrey

Summary: Pickleball has been the fastest growing sport in the US for five consecutive years, but little research on the sport has been performed to date. Therefore, the overall purpose of the proposed study is to measure foot/ankle strength and function in a variety of pickleball players, comparing data across age, gender, sport experience, and level of skill.