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Possible dissertation help

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by stevenurse, Jun 23, 2010.

  1. stevenurse

    stevenurse Member

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    Hi all,

    Im a first time poster on here, a second year BSc Podiatry student in Birmingham, looking for any possible help with my dissertation.

    I am currently exploring the possibility of studying the recovery time of elite footballers between initial injury and first appearance to competitive football following a foot or ankle related injury.

    I have so far contacted every premier league club and have only received rejection letters from the clubs, claiming they do not participate in educational studies :bang:

    I am therefore looking for other avenues in which to gather the data needed and wondered if anybody on here has looked at a similar subject or knows any contacts which may prove beneficial.

    I shall continue to contact clubs in the lower leagues but I fear I will get the same reply. Im hoping to contact some physios specifically as this may help.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks guys, Steve
  2. Peter

    Peter Well-Known Member

    Seems too many variables in that type of study, plus elite clubs would prefer to be approached through their own medical teams.

    Sorry to stamp out your fire.
    Mate, I would be thinking of something a bit more straightforward, good luck
  3. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Hi Steve,

    I've worked with a few Premiership clubs over the years. I know that clubs tend not to give out info on their players or their injuries to someone who isn't in their employ.

    Some advice........
    Your dissertation topic should be succinct and easy to write up. Leave the meaningful research until after you have that 1st degree under your belt.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear, but well-meant.
  4. stevenurse

    stevenurse Member

    Tell me about it, seems like im going down an avenue that just isnt going to work. Im also possibly interested in football boots. I am wondering if I can get something to do with injuries and football boot type, such as lightweight (Nike Vapor etc).

    Any ideas that would be similar to the original question or something relating to boots or a few other variables would be appreciated. The original question was posed to me by a tutor after I had consulted with him about my own research proposal, which was the prevalence of lower limb injuries and calcaneal deviation in NCSP and RCSP in amateur footballers. the reason I push so much is that I want to do something related to my first degree in sport science.

  5. Peter

    Peter Well-Known Member

    what was your dissertation for your 1st sports science degree?
  6. stevenurse

    stevenurse Member

    I actually did two as I went down the route of a foundation degree in sports science before bridging to the full degree, this worked out cheaper and an extra qualification. I firstly did, the effects of cryotherapy on recovery time and lactic acid removal, and for my second dissertation I studied the use of smartspeed technology in the improvement of agility in university footballers.

    Neither of these are particularly useful in this dissertation unfortunately, I'd love to do something related to injuries in differing footwear as this is a topic of much contention at the moment with boots getting lighter etc, especially with the dreaded metatarsal injury becoming more common.
  7. Griff

    Griff Moderator


    A prospective study (the study of greatest value with respect to injury risk) will be almost impossible to achieve in the given timescale of an undergraduate project unfortunately. You may have to adopt a cross-sectional study design (and bear in mind this will consider correlation rather than causation). I think you will find a fair bit of resistance getting any major bootmakers on board regarding injury rates however.

    If you have your heart set on injury and footwear your best bet may be to get all of the teams in a chosen division of a lower tier of the football pyramid and ask all their players about the boots there wore in the previous season and any injuries they sustained - then look for any potential correlations. Might be tricky to draw any firm conclusions however, as there are far too many uncontrollable variables involved. As others have mentioned - this may be a bit too complicated given your time frame and availabe resources. Love your passion though mate.
  8. Peter

    Peter Well-Known Member

    I would set your sights at the lower leagues.

    Contact some of the bargain basement clubs whose staff have plenty of free time
    on their hands, like Port vale:D
  9. stevenurse

    stevenurse Member

    Thanks guys, really helpful. Im aware I dont have the timescale or potential resources for something like this and may have to set my sights on something less complicated. This is a shame but it would be nice to do something that may help me in the future.

    I would love to have my own clinic one day, or even working in the design and technology process of the manufacture of football boots. This is far more interesting to me than your bread and butter "granny grating" as its been dubbed.

    Are there any other ideas you guys have that may be possible? Sorry to ask as it isnt your problem but ive had so many different ideas that have been rejected. Once again, any help really is appreciated guys.
  10. Heres an idea- compare trauma injuries v´s overuse type in Football. These should be reported in paper or the FA should have these stats. Look at different years.

    say 29 % are lower limb overuse injuries in 2009 and over the years this figure has increased or decreased since say 1979 this will give your discussion point. ie what has changed boots, training levels, speed of the game, amount of time sleeping with team mates girlfriends etc. This then can lead to further studies which may directly look at football boots. But if you find no changes in injury rate that are not considered trauma then there is no real point to look at the boots etc.

    Hope that helps some.
  11. Griff

    Griff Moderator


    Football is a tricky sport when considering injury in my opinion - for starters it is near impossible to match the players for activity levels (say a midfield general Vs a goalkeeper for example). If dealing with semi-pro/amateur teams you also need to consider what they do for a living (desk based Vs manual labourer). Add in their preferred kicking leg, what boots they wear (moulds/studs/blades) - and if they wear them all season of course - and you have scratched the surface of some of the variables you are dealing with.

    If had had one academic year to do an undergrad project and was adamant to relate it to football, personally I would do a literature review (I understand this is allowed now at undergrad level?). Not that exciting admittedly, but a full a comprehensive review of what we currently know about injury risks and rates etc in football. It will also make it clear to you where the gaping holes in the research are - and may inspire you for a further study after you have graduated.

  12. stevenurse

    stevenurse Member

    Another couple of good ideas. I was initially planning on doing a literature review but this year the Birmingham School of Podiatry have changed the choice and I have to do a research project.

    Just now Everton F.C have let me know that if I contact the physio at the club during the season he would be able to help me.

    This is great news considering the rejections ive had but still doesnt assure me of any results in time to actually write the thing! I wonder if anybody on here has any connections that may help me?
  13. Peter

    Peter Well-Known Member

    To write your dissertation?
  14. stevenurse

    stevenurse Member

    If possible, or even for some kind of shadowing during the summer or to even contact for advice etc in future.
  15. Peter

    Peter Well-Known Member

    forgive me for being obtuse, but are you publicly asking for assistance to write your dissertation?

    Did you get help writing your previous 2 dissertations?
  16. stevenurse

    stevenurse Member

    I think you misunderstand, I am not asking for help in the actual writing of the dissertation, just someone who may be able to help with the gathering of data, physios etc.
  17. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Hi again,

    Forgive me being blunt, but as far as I can see several of us here have advised you to set your sights a bit lower for an undergrad dissertation.

    Let me make this plain - an undergrad degree is not a suitable vehicle for carrying out meaningful research - you don't have the time.

    Just to give you some idea of how complicated the field you want to enter is.....

    Several years ago I designed a custom orthosis which will fit all soccer boots - it replaces the blown insole which is already fitted to a boot. It is also tiny - because most of the orthoses sold as "soccer" won't fit boots when the foot is also in the boot. I liaised with a commercial lab with cad-cam facilities for orthotic manufacture to ensure that re-orders could take place quickly by fax or telephone/email. From a profit perspective the orthoses were highly suitable, lasting only a few months. Being semi-throwaway also allowed a nice coloured leather cover to be added, since this had about the same lifespan.

    Sounds good so far doesn't it?
    Read on.

    The orthotic was trialled, over two seasons, with players from two high-profile Premiership clubs. It worked well, cutting down pre-season blisters, and helping ankle and knee rehab throughout the season. Because the orthoses were unobtrusive player acceptability was high - they liked the leather covers too

    I explored two areas of possible commercial interest during that time.
    1. Boot manufacturers. Did not want to know. With hindsight why would they?
    They make most of their money by bulk selling cheaply manufactured goods at high prices to the general public, using high profile players to advertise and endorse their brand. They aren't interested in something which goes into the boot and helps with injury.
    2. Clubs. Did not want to know, once I'd left the scene. Again, and with hindsight, why would they?
    The players just want to get on with the game, and lets be honest - the chiropodist at one of the clubs I worked with probably gave move comfort (albeit temporary) with his rudimentary skills and a bit of fleecy web.

    That was around two years work - I also have a pure research degree so I knew what I was doing.

    My undergrad research project was somewhat simpler - a pilot study on the vasoactivity of two well-known local anaesthetics using twenty subjects, in my own time, with me doing the injections, measurements, collecting the data, doing the stats and writing up. It still took a few months to complete.

    Keep this one simple and tight. If you want to set the world alight with your research (a great ambition BTW) do it properly and not as part of your undergrad degree.
  18. While I concur that some of the projects being discussed here are impracticable in the time frame available, to carte blanche undergraduate research as not being "meaningful" is nonsense. I can cite several undergraduate research projects which have gone on to be published in good quality peer reviewed journals.
  19. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    I would be suprised if you could not - as an educator/Head at one of the UK Schools of Pod you must have seen many, many undergrad research project write-ups.

    What % would you say were worthy of publication?
  20. Of the ones I supervised I would say the vast majority could have been published certainly > 75%; that the students didn't go on to publish them is the bigger shame. There was the odd duff one, but in general by the time the students were writing their dissertation, they were "peaking" in terms of their degree study and with good regular supervision most undergrads are capable of producing something "meaningful". Indeed, that some students only have to submit a project proposal now, rather than carry-out the research is a great loss.
  21. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Agreed. If only in that working through the research process from beginning to end gives the student meaningful insight into what research is all about.
  22. Agreed. So undergraduate research is meaningful.

    Anyway back to our man's project. You want to look at football boots, why not do some in-shoe pressure measurement comparing blades with round studs and multi-studs?
  23. Peter

    Peter Well-Known Member

    .....or the above boot types and changes in ROM of the 1st MTPJ with their use?

    Or has that been done?
  24. It's an interesting one. Certainly Abboud looked at in-shoe pressure comparing blades with round studs. You could measure 1st MTPJ motion, but you would have to cut the boot away to locate your markers to measure it dynamically.

    You could measure the load /deformation characteristics in the forefoot with various boots with a fairly simple jig.
  25. stevenurse

    stevenurse Member

    Simon, very interesting idea, what do you mean by a 'fairly simple jig'?

    This would all be extremely interesting but im going to need a way to relate it specifically back to podiatry related issues.
  26. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    Nicely taken out of context.
  27. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    My suggestion is that you keep it as simple as possible (or failing that see if you can bag Simon as your Supervisor).
  28. Peter

    Peter Well-Known Member

  29. Peter

    Peter Well-Known Member

    stud/blade/cleat under 1st met head, cue functional hallux limitus, cue pathological compensation, cue pain.
  30. stevenurse

    stevenurse Member

    Im obviously frustrating you a fair bit Peter so I shall leave it at that. Thanks for your ideas. I will use all the input and form a simple, yet meaningful study. I have a couple of ideas and will keep the site updated.

    Thanks again
  31. Peter

    Peter Well-Known Member

    Don't take it personally, I just think this sort of stuff should be ingrained into students heads, especially those students with a passion for MSK and biomechanics.

    tell us about your ideas, but if you don't want someone to steal your idea, thats understandable.
  32. Depends on the definition of meaningful research.
  33. stevenurse

    stevenurse Member

    I understand what you mean, and I completely agree. The fact that I was suggested this by one of my tutors makes it more annoying I guess. An initial idea is to take a sample of amateur footballers I know and with the use of a simple questionnaire, determining the boot type (studs,blades etc) versus injury.

    But I personally do not like the reliability of questionnaires which makes me what to do something where I can collect quantitative data myself, with the use of ROM measurements etc.
  34. Something like this would be the simplest, get workbench with a vice, insert your boots into it, clamp the boots upside down in the vice so that the distance between the jaws of the vice and the toe end of the boot is the same for all boots (should all be the same size boots) pick a point on the boot as the datum, suspend weights from the toe (i'd use a climbing sling looped over the front of the sole as a carrier for the weights and measure the displacement of the boot at the datum relative to the unloaded position, this enables you to calculate the sole stiffness of the boots (k sole= force/ displacement). Hope that makes sense.

    Attached Files:

  35. I like this one: get a boot with replaceable studs, measure in shoe pressures. Try changing some of the studs for longer and/ or softer studs in order to shift CoP in one direction or another, or to lower the pressure in a high pressure region. For example, if I wanted to shift the CoP medially under the heel, I would use a longer and/ or harder stud under the medial heel. If I wanted to offload the 1st MPJ I'd use harder and / or longer studs under the lateral forefoot.- Now that should all work out nicely when the boot is on a relatively stiff surface, but what about on a nice soft pitch? Try contacting Phil Wells at Salts tech step and see if he'll let you use their astro-turf runway.
  36. Here lies the problem, which may or may not be applicable to your case in point, Steve. We may encounter situations where undergraduate supervisors are not actively involved in research themselves, but the year group proposals are divided out equally among all the staff, some of whom have a strong research background, some who haven't done anything for years, if ever. So it can be a lottery for the undergrad. Like I said, strong supervision is key - academics need to be research active. What was the last paper your supervisor published, Steve? Was it a quantitative or qualitative study? If you don't know google him / her. Degree training costs lots, if you are not getting value for money- complain.
  37. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

  38. cornmerchant

    cornmerchant Well-Known Member


    You seem to have come into podiatry with preconceived ideas of how you want to tailor the profession to your interests-which seem to constantly harp back to what you have done previously. It may interest you to know that many of us are quite happy to do the 'granny grating'.

    It may pay you to make the best use of all avenues of the profession until you have a little more experience under your belt.

  39. Nice, if a little harsh. "it's no secret that ambition bites the nails of success"- the fly U2, but we can all dream... Steven might be the gift that English football has been looking for and straight out of college he might find employment with Manscouser athletic. At 21 I decided I wanted to be a head of a podiatry school, took me 11 or 12 years to get there... all things are possible, but when you get to the end of the rainbow, there isn't always the pot of gold you dreamed of. Sometimes, it's a crock of ****, but hey, we all have dreams. These days, I just hope that the teachers educating my 5 year old have some talent and ability, yet after this evening's meeting with them, I doubt it.

    Anyway: think not of what podiatry can do for you, but of what you can do for podiatry. I heard Kilmartin say that and subsequently watched several of his former pupils fly.

    If someone's ambition is to cut corns and nails, we should foster that talent so that they might be the best at doing that, if someone wants to work with professional footballers, then we should foster that person to be the best they can be at that.

    The suburbs they are dreaming
    They're a twinkle in her eye
    She's been feeling frisky since her husband said goodbye
    She wears a low cut T-shirt
    Runs a little B&B
    She's most accomodating when she's in her lingerie
    Wife-swapping is your future
    You know that it would suit ya

    Yes They're stereotypes
    There must be more to life
    All your life you're dreaming
    And then you
    Stop dreaming
    From time to time you know you should be
    Going on another bender

    The suburbs they are sleeping
    But he's dressing up tonight
    She likes a man in uniform
    He likes to wear it tight
    They're on the lovers' sofa
    They're on the patio
    And when the fun is over
    Watch themselves on video
    The neighbours may be staring
    But they are just past caring

    Yes The stereotypes
    There must be more to life
    All your life you're dreaming
    And then you
    Stop dreaming
    Time to time you know
    You're going on another bender
    Yes There must be more to life
    Than stereotypes - Blur : stereotypes

    Go break the mould. Excel.
  40. stevenurse

    stevenurse Member

    It's not that I don't believe the clinical side is any less important than the biomechanical side but I just have far more of a passion for sport and is primarily the reason I took this degree on. I find the clinical side interesting and find helping people, even with just long nails etc a very rewarding experience and there's nothing better then hearing an elderly woman let me know I've given her the freedom to walk without pain to see her grandchildren etc. BUT this isn't something I would wake up every morning looking forward to doing.

    Working with footballers and the biomechanical side just appeals to me more.

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