What Does Research Mean to You?

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By Andrea Spridgen
Andrea Spridgen

It's easy to think that research and everyday clinical patient care are separate entities that have little in common. However, clinical practice and research are very much intertwined. In this issue of The O&P EDGE, we explore how practitioners can apply information from research studies to their clinical practices, and we get a glimpse into the way clinical challenges inspire research efforts.

The first feature, "O&P Research Supports Evidence-based Care," focuses on a sampling of studies that are under way around the United States to increase the body of O&P knowledge. Several researchers share their work helping to support clinical best practices for a variety of O&P interventions or guidance to solve clinical challenges. For example, W. Lee Childers, PhD, MSPO, CP, and his team are working to provide clarity about the effectiveness of prosthetic feet with multiaxial features-an intervention commonly used in clinical practice-and Joan Sanders, PhD, and her team are helping to move clinical interventions forward with a greater understanding of appropriate options to manage fluid volume in residual limbs. Unfortunately, due to space limitations, we are unable to include all the worthy research projects in process.

Phil Stevens, MEd, CPO, FAAOP, returns to the topic of plagiocephaly and the efficacy of helmet remolding orthoses. This treatment option has faced a great deal of turmoil in clinical practice following a controversial randomized control trial (RCT) published in 2014; the study has been widely criticized for its small cohort, ill-fitting helmets, and weaknesses with its methodology. In "The Rest of the Story...for now: The Continually Developing Evidence Base for the Management of Deformational Plagiocephaly," Stevens presents several studies that have been published in the ensuing years that contradict the 2014 RCT, and indicate widespread efficacy of helmet remolding therapy for the treatment of plagiocephaly.

While it's important to be aware of published research, "Turning Knowledge Into Action" tackles an important question: What does research mean to you? The answer seems to lie in what you do with that research and whether it's translated into evidenced-based care. In this article, John Brinkmann, MA, CPO/L, FAAOP(D), reviews the challenges and strategies for doing just that, as revealed by-what else-research.

I hope you enjoy this issue devoted to the challenges that confront the O&P profession as it continues to provide an evidence base for the important work you do. And, if you are attending the Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium of the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists, come by and see us at booths 134-135.

Happy reading.

Congratulations to Sarah Tobias, Hanger Clinic, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, who won an Amazon Fire in The O&P EDGE/Amplitude booth drawing at the Hanger Annual Meeting and Education Fair.