University of the West of England Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) Studentship
Biomechanical analysis of persistent changes in gait mechanics after Total Hip Replacement surgery and the effects of gait retraining

PhD Supervisors: Dr. Mary Cramp, Prof. Shea Palmer, Dr. Lindsay Smith

Project Description: Total Hip Replacement (THR) is a common surgical procedure used as a primary treatment to address the problems associated with hip osteoarthritis. The number of THRs has increased by a third in the past decade and, in 2014/15, 89,288 THR procedures were undertaken in England and Wales. The demand for THR likely to increase further with the growth in the ageing population and the prevalence of obesity. THR is successful for reducing pain and improving function, mobility and quality of life overall. However, while there are improvements in gait after THR, biomechanical studies have shown that there are persistent changes in biomechanical markers of the movement pattern of the affected joint and other lower limb joints; and that gait mechanics do not return to normal after THR. Altered gait mechanics are thought to impact on joint health and the need for further joint replacements. Therefore, it is a problem that needs to be addressed to improve gait outcomes after THR and reduce the personal impact and financial implications for health services of further treatment.

The aim of this project is to develop low cost treatment solutions for persistent altered gait mechanics after THR based on biomechanical study of gait. Currently, exercise and gait retraining are included as part of early rehabilitation after THR surgery and improve physical function. There have been few studies of later rehabilitation to address persistent problems after THR; the studies that have been completed are of low quality and have focused on supervised or unsupervised exercise programmes to improve muscle strength and gait speed. Specific gait retraining to improve gait mechanics has yet to be explored.

The project will focus on patients at least 1 year post THR surgery, as improvements in gait and function have been previously observed up to 9 to 12 months post-surgery. It will provide proof of concept and a basis for future interventions to address persistent gait changes after THR. The specific aims are to identify the biomechanical markers of altered gait mechanics that persist beyond 12 months after THR and to evaluate the immediate and short-term biomechanical effects of gait retraining options.

Information for applicants: The position will suit a student with a keen interest, and existing knowledge, in applied biomechanics and musculoskeletal rehabilitation. Familiarity with three dimensional motion analysis or musculoskeletal rehabilitation would be an advantage, as would experience of collecting data from human volunteers. The successful applicant will gain experience of gait analysis using three dimensional motion analysis and the conduct of health-related research with a patient population.
The studentship is available on a full-time basis from 1st October 2017. The studentship will provide a tax-exempt stipend, currently 14,553 per annum, for a period of 3 year. Full-time tuition fees will be covered for up to three years (Home/EU rates only) and project costs are provided. Overseas applicants will be required to cover the difference between Home/EU
and the overseas tuition fee rates in each year of study. The successful candidate will have full access to the Graduate School Development Programme, relevant research training, and will participate in the Doctoral Training Alliance Programme (

Applicants will need to meet the eligibility criteria for doctoral study at the University of the West of England. Information about eligibility and the application process is available on the following webpage:

The closing date for applications is Monday 22nd May 2017.

Dr Mary Cramp, PhD MCSP

Associate Head of Department -
Research, Innovation and Knowledge Exchange
Allied Health Professions
Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill
Bristol BS16 1DD, UK
Telephone: +44 (0)117 32 87163