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About Us

Helping Patient Move Smarter, Faster and Better

Our research is aimed at understanding the relationships between lower extremity structure, mechanics and musculoskeletal injury. We are also interested in developing strategies and interventions that help to mitigate injury risk. While the focus of our research is on running, our interests extend to injuries related to walking as well. We utilize imaging, modeling, and experimental approaches to answer our research questions.

Research Areas

Our past, current and future investigations relate to the following areas:

  • Structural and biomechanical factors related to:
    • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
    • Iliotibial band syndrome
    • Plantar fasciitis
    • Stress fractures
    • Achilles tendinitis
    • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Imaging of the patellofemoral joint, foot & ankle during dynamic activities
  • Gait retraining to reduce abnormal mechanics in both walking and running
  • Multisegment foot models
  • The influence of a myriad of variables on running injury risk, including:
    • Intrinsic factors (age, sex)
    • Foot strike type
    • Footwear choice (from barefoot to maximally cushioned shoes)
    • Speed
    • Previous injury history
    • Other mechanics
  • Development and testing of mobile systems to monitor and provide feedback on running mechanics outside of the laboratory
  • Gait abnormalities and retraining for persons with lower extremity amputations
  • Development of systems using small, mobile sensors to monitor gait and provide gait retraining outside of the laboratory

About Irene Davis, PhD, PT FACSM, FAPTA, FASB

Dr. Irene Davis is the founding Director of the Spaulding National Running Center, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School. She received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from the University of Massachusetts, and in Physical Therapy from the University of Florida. She earned her master’s degree in Biomechanics from the University of Virginia, and her PhD in Biomechanics from Pennsylvania State University. She is a Professor Emeritus in Physical Therapy at the University of Delaware where she served on the faculty for over 20 years.

Dr. Davis’ research has focused on the relationship between lower extremity structure, mechanics and injury.  Her interest in injury mechanics extends to the development of interventions to alter these mechanics through gait retraining.  She is interested in the mechanics of barefoot running and its effect on injury rates and is a barefoot runner herself. Along with gait analysis, her research encompasses dynamic imaging and modeling. She has received funding from the Department of Defense, Army Research Office and National Institutes of Health to support her research related to stress fractures. Dr. Davis has given nearly 300 lectures both nationally and internationally and authored over 100 publications on the topic of lower extremity mechanics during running.

Dr. Davis has been active professionally in the American Physical Therapy Association, the American Society of Biomechanics, and International Society of Biomechanics. She is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Society of Biomechanics, and a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association.  She is a past President of the American Society of Biomechanics. She has organized and coordinated international research retreats on topics of the foot and ankle, anterior cruciate ligament injuries and patellofemoral pain syndrome. She has been featured on ABC World News Tonight, Good Morning America, Discovery, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Parade and Time Magazine.