Lower Extremity and Gait Studies

lower extremity and gait studies

Lower Extremity and Gait Studies (LEGS) Program

lower extremity and gait studies

The Lower Extremity and Gait Studies (LEGS) Program encompasses research being carried out by academic staff within the School of Allied Health, Human Services and Sport (primarily the disciplines of physiotherapy and podiatry) and our clinical partner, OrthoSports Victoria. The research being undertaken is into the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system and causes, prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and disease, with a particular emphasis on lower extremity disorders and those affecting balance and gait. The purpose of LEGS research is to enhance performance and maintain mobility in people affected by sporting injuries and chronic musculoskeletal conditions. These research studies employ cutting-edge technologies (such as three-dimensional motion analysis and diagnostic imaging techniques) in conjunction with assessment procedures that could be easily transferred into the clinical environment.

Hylton MenzResearchers in the LEGS Program seek to (i) understand the prevalence, risk factors and impact of common lower extremity disorders affecting gait and mobility; (ii) using state-of-the-art laboratory techniques, identify underlying physiological and biomechanical mechanisms responsible for these conditions, and (iii) conduct high quality clinical trials to evaluate the effectiveness of current and emerging treatments for these conditions.

Research Members

HDR Students

Higher Degree Research Student



Project title

Andrew Buldt


Dr George Murley, Dr Karl Landorf, Prof Hylton Menz

Biomechanics of the highly-arched foot

Paul Butterworth


Dr Karl Landorf, Prof Hylton Menz

The association between obesity and foot pain

Angel Ching


Dr Kate Webster

Functional outcome measures in orthopaedic rehabilitation

Matthew Cotchett


Dr Karl Landorf, Dr Shannon Munteanu

Randomised controlled trial of dry needling for plantar heel pain

Justin Crow


Dr Tania Pizzari

Exercise for the improvement of motor control

Lachlan Giles


Dr Kate Webster

Patellofemoral pain

Alexandra Hall


Dr Jodie McClelland

Pilates following total hip arthroplasty

Claudia Meyer


Prof Keith Hill

Addressing research gaps and translating existing research evidence into practice for falls prevention

Damien Moore


Dr Tania Pizzari

Exercise for gluteus medius and minimus

Mark Opar


Dr Tania Pizzari

Classification of exercise-related groin pain

Byron Perrin


Prof Hal Swerissen

Psychological functioning and behaviour of people with peripheral neuropathy

Marg Perrott


Dr Tania Pizzari

Lumbopelvic stability in athletes

Margie Schache


Dr Kate Webster

The importance of hip strength after knee replacement

Lisa Scott


Dr Shannon Munteanu

The effectiveness of shoe insoles for the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy

Ann Shoebridge


Dr Kate Webster

Playing-related musculoskeletal disorders in tertiary music students

Simon Smith


Dr Karl Landorf, Prof Hylton Menz

Outcomes of hallux valgus surgery

Carolyn Taylor


Dr Tania Pizzari

Musculoskeletal screening in the AFL

Richard Taylor


Dr Tania Pizzari

Hamstring injuries in the AFL

Jason Wallis


Dr Kate Webster

Interventions for hip and knee osteoarthritis to maintain physical activity

Joanne Wittwer


Dr Kate Webster

The effect of music on gait variability in people with dementia

Anita Zacharias


Dr Rod Green

Efficacy of rehabilitation programs in improving hip stabiliser muscle function in hip osteoarthritis

Recent Publications

1. Ardern CL, Taylor NF, Feller JA, Whitehead TS, Webster KE. Psychological responses matter when it comes to returning to the pre-injury level of sport after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery. American Journal of Sports Medicine 2013;41(7):1549-1558.

2. Buldt AK, Murley GS, Butterworth P, Levinger P, Menz HB, Landorf KB. The relationship between foot posture and lower limb kinematics during walking: A systematic review. Gait and Posture 2013; (in press).

3. Butterworth PA, Urquhart DM, Cicuttini FM, Menz HB, Strauss BJ, Proietto J, Dixon JB, Jones G, Landorf KB, Wluka AE. Fat mass is a predictor of incident foot pain. Obesity 2013;21:E495-E499.

4. Feller J, Webster KE. Return to sport following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. International Orthopaedics 2013 Feb;37(2):285-90.

5. Giles LS, Webster KE, McClelland JA, and Cook J. Does quadriceps atrophy exist in individuals with patellofemoral pain? A systematic literature review with meta-analyses. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 2013; (in press).

6. Landorf KB, Morrow A, Spink M, Nash CL, Novak A, Potter J, Menz HB. Effectiveness of scalpel debridement for painful plantar calluses in older people: a randomized trial. Trials 2013;14;253.

7. Levinger P, Menz HB, Morrow AD, Feller JA, Bartlett JR, Bergman NR. Lower limb biomechanics in individuals with knee osteoarthritis before and after total knee replacement surgery. Journal of Arthroplasty 2013; 28:994-999.

8. McMillan AM, Landorf KB, Gregg JM, De Luca J, Cotchett MP, Menz HB. Hyperemia in plantar fasciitis determined by power Doppler ultrasound. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy 2013;43:875-880.

9. Menz HB, Dufour AB, Casey VA, Riskowski JL, Hagedorn TJ, McLean RR, Katz P, Hannan MT. Foot pain and mobility limitation in older adults: the Framingham Foot Study. Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological and Medical Sciences 2013;68:1281-1285.

10. Murley GS, Tan JM, Edwards RM, De Luca J, Munteanu SE, Cook JL. Foot posture is associated with morphometry of the peroneus longus muscle, tibialis anterior tendon, and Achilles tendon. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports 2013; (in press).

11. Perrin BM, Swerissen H, Payne C, Skinner T. The cognitive representations of peripheral neuropathy and the self reported foot-care behaviour of people at high risk of diabetes-related foot complications. Diabetic Medicine 2013; (in press).

12. Pizzari T. Recurrent hamstring injuries--risks and prevention: a review. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 2013 Mar;23(2):119-20.

13. Raspovic A. Gait characteristics of people with diabetes related peripheral neuropathy, with and without a history of ulceration. Gait and Posture 2013;38:4:723-728.

14. Schache MB, McClelland JA, and Webster KE. Lower limb strength following total knee arthroplasty: A systematic review. The Knee 2013; (in press).

15. Semciw AI, Pizzari, T, Green RA. Technical application and the level of discomfort associated with an intramuscular electromyographic investigation into gluteus minimus and gluteus medius. Gait and Posture 2013;38:157-160. doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2012.10.010

16. Wallis JA, Webster KE, Levinger P, Taylor NF. What proportion of people with hip and knee osteoarthritis meet physical activity guidelines? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage 2013 Nov;21(11):1648-59.

17. Webster KE, Wotherspoon S, Feller JA, McClelland JA. The effect of anterior cruciate ligament graft orientation on rotational knee kinematics. Knee Surgery Sports Traumatology and Arthroscopy 2013 Sep;21(9):2113-20

18. Wittwer JE, Webster KE, Hill K. Effect of rhythmic auditory cueing on gait in people with Alzheimer disease. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2013;94(4):718-724.

Program Research Questions

Our Key research questions fall under a number of themes:

Foot and Ankle Disorders

The foot and ankle projects seek to understand the epidemiology of foot disorders, the normal and abnormal biomechanics of the foot when walking, the effect of footwear on foot health in older people and the effectiveness of treatments for common foot disorders such as plantar heel pain, osteoarthritis and diabetic foot ulcers.

Some of our other key projects:

Project Title Lead researcher Associate Researchers
Effectiveness of footwear in reducing foot pain in veterans ineligible for medical grade footwear Professor Hylton Menz Dr Shannon Munteanu
Predictors of foot ulceration in people with end-stage renal disease on dialysis. Dr Karl Landorf Dr Anita Raspovic
Efficacy of customised foot orthoses in the treatment of Achilles tendinopathy Dr Shannon Munteanu Dr Karl Landorf, Professor Hylton Menz, Professor Jill Cook, Dr Tania Pizzari, Ms Lisa Scott
Effectiveness of foot orthoses to prevent overuse injury in military recruits: a randomised trial Dr George Murley Dr Shannon Menteanu, Professor Hylton Menz, Dr Karl Landorf, Mr Daniel Bonnano
The foot health of people with diabetes in regional and rural Australia My Byron Perrin  

Knee Orthopaedics

The knee orthopaedics projects are directed towards improving the clinical outcomes of knee replacement surgery and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

Some of our key projects include:

Project Title Lead Researcher Associate Researchers
Knee biomechanics following ACL reconstruction surgery A/Prof Kate Webster A/Prof Julian Feller, Dr Jodie McClelland
Knee biomechanics after total knee replacement surgery: a 5 year follow up study Dr Jodie McClelland A/Prof Kate Webster, Ms Jo Wittwer
Return to sport following ACL reconstruction A/Prof Kate Webster Dr Clare Ardern, Prof Nick Taylor, A/Prof Julian Feller

Hip Function and Dysfunction

The hip function and dysfunction projects are directed towards understanding hip muscle function, and prevention and management of hip related injuries.

Some of our key projects include:

Project Title Lead Researcher Associate Researchers
Efficacy of rehabilitation programs in improving hip stabiliser muscles function in hip osteoarthritis A/Prof Rod Green Dr Tania Pizzari, Dr Mike Kingsley, Dr Adam Semciw
Management of hamstring muscle strain injuries in the Australian Football League Dr Tania Pizzari Mr Paul Coburn
Developing and evaluating a relevant, comprehensive and consistent musculoskeletal screening protocol for Australian Rules Football Professor Jill Cook Dr Tania Pizzari
Does hormone therapy, exercise or a combination of both, improve pain and function in post-menopausal women with greater trochanteric pain syndrome (GTPS)? See more information.Charlotte Ganderton 

Gait, Balance and Falls

The gait, balance and falls project seek to understand the mechanisms underlying the increased risk of falling in older people and in clinical groups (such as Elzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease) and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions to improve balance and prevent falls.

Byron Perrin

Researchers of La Trobe University are asked three questions, giving a glimpse into the wide range of research conducted

Dr Karl Landorf

Researchers are asked three questions, giving a glimpse into the wide range of research conducted at La Trobe.

Associate Professor Rod Green

Researchers are asked three questions, giving a glimpse into the wide range of research conducted at La Trobe.

Dr George Murley

Foot posture and lower limb function

Professor Hylton Menz is an NHMRC Senior Research Fellow and a member of the La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre

Hylton Menz, Health Sciences