By Kate Hunger
Physical Therapy doctoral student Starr Brown co-authored an article on the use of a novel socket device in military service members with transfemoral amputation. The article recently was published in the U.S. Army Medical Department Journal.
The article described the results of a study by researchers at Northwestern University, who developed the subischial socket, and the Center for the Intrepid, where Brown worked as a research associate for several years before enrolling in the physical therapy doctoral program at UT Health San Antonio.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the socket in the military population, Brown said. Because its trim lines are below the ischium of the pelvis, the Northwestern socket allows wearers to sit more comfortably and achieve more hip extension when walking, Brown said. Four of 11 enrolled study subjects completed the study protocol, which compared the Northwestern subischial socket to the ischial containment socket.
Although she acknowledged that the number of participants who completed the study was small, Brown said the evaluation yields important insights.
“The biggest thing is it continues to make progress in the field of devices for amputees because it shows what is possible,” she said.
Brown’s journey to the School of Health Professions has been an interesting one. After earning her research master’s in human movement sciences VU Amsterdam, Brown pursued her dream of working with veterans at the Center for the Intrepid. It was while observing physical therapists at the center that she fell in love with physical therapy. That experience inspired her to apply to the doctoral program at UT Health San Antonio.
The PT program has expanded her horizons, Brown said, noting that she is still deciding whether to specialize in orthopedics or neurology.
“It’s kind of blown my world,” Brown said. “I am just so impressed with everything we are learning that it is making me realize there are a lot more possibilities than I thought.