Steadman Philippon Research Institute opens biomechanics lab |

Steadman Philippon Research Institute opens biomechanics lab

VAIL – You know how sometimes you tell your doctor, “Doc, it hurts when I do that.” The Steadman Philippon Research Institute spent millions of dollars building a state-of-the-art biomechanics laboratory to teach you why.

The Steadman Philippon Research Institute has opened its new Biomechanics Laboratories and Surgical Skills facilities in the Vail Valley Medical Center. The high-tech research lab has been part of the Institute’s vision for more than two decades.

The goal is to understand the demands on joints for certain sports or motions, how injuries occur and how they can be best treated.

The Vail Valley Medical Center partnered with the Research Institute in building the facility.

“We are very appreciative of their support and help in building this new laboratory,” said Dr. Richard Steadman, chairman and founder of the Research Institute. “This new research facility will help us continue our role as a world leader in validating new surgical procedures and in understanding injury mechanisms and injury prevention.”

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The Research Institute’s research on the hip, ankle, hand, elbow, shoulder and knee has improved the treatment of joint disorders. Patients receive innovative treatment for severe or complex injuries and degenerative joint disease. Those treatments are developed by the Institute’s scientists and Steadman Clinic physicians conducting research in biomechanics and other fields.

The Biomechanics Laboratories and Surgical Skills facilities host three specific areas:

• A BioMotion Laboratory for analyzing how the body moves,

• A Biomechanical Testing Laboratory with robotics equipment,

• A Surgical Skills Laboratory, for use by surgeons to demonstrate techniques and to train Fellows at the Institute.

Inside the BioMotion Laboratory, staff scientists and engineers built an artificial ice-rink for studying injuries to the hip, for example, which are common in hockey players. Researchers will be able to accurately measure body rotation and function during live action by athletes, and determine how that may contribute to these injuries. The floor of the rink has been constructed so that it can be changed over to different surfaces for other sports such as baseball, soccer, golf and football.

There’s dual-plane fluoroscopy technology, which is two x-ray machines working together to shoot x-ray movies, rather than still shots, at up to 1,000 images per second. This allows the researchers to analyze highly-accurate, three-dimensional joint motion.

A robot manufactured by KUKA Robotics tests joints and help develop alternatives for joint replacement.

The expanded Surgical Skills Laboratory is used for teaching and is equipped with 10 fully equipped state-of-the-art arthroscopy training stations for visiting scholars, fellows, and clinicians.

The biomechanics research department is run by Coen A. Wijdicks, Ph.D., director and senior staff scientist. The BioMotion Laboratory division is directed by senior staff scientist Erik Giphart, Ph.D., and the surgical skills laboratory is managed by Kelly Adair.

Founded in 1988 by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Steadman as the Steadman Sports Medicine Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charitable organization has influenced the practice of orthopedics throughout the world. More information can be found at

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