What We are Doing

Current Projects

The following is a list of projects under MSK-IF for development. For more information for each project, please contact the project's principal investigator (PI) or FHS MSK-IF.

Joint Protection Self-management Program for Hand & Shoulder Arthritis Patients

PI: Joy MacDermid
Project Status: Stage - Execution: In Progress


Joint protection is a traditional component of hand arthritis management which can result in temporary relief of pain and reduce the progression of arthritis and deformity through reduced loading over the longer term.

Collaborating with Roth | McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre (HULC), FHS MSK-IF aims to refine the joint protection program for hands and shoulder arthritis patients with accessible modules that well-accommodates the target users.


Low-cost Wearable for Long Term Monitoring of Knee Brace Active Wear Time

PI: Trevor Birmingham, David Holdsworth
Project Status: Stage - Execution: In Progress

CORK Wearable

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) limits one's physical activities and increases the risk of vascular events and death. Knee braces have the potential to help people with this condition, however, their effectiveness remains unclear.

As part of the randomized clinical trial study funded by the Arthritis Society and Western's Bone and Joint Institute, this project aims to identify the knee braces' effectiveness by accurately monitoring their active wear time (adherence) with custom wearable devices assembled by FHS MSK-IF.


Measuring Temperature and Muscle Contraction in Custom Orthotic Devices

PI: Mike Szekeres, Joy MacDermid
Project Status: Stage - Execution: In Progress

Upper Limb Orthosis

One of the standards of care for treating upper limb injuries is to prescribe a removable splint or orthosis, which helps fractures and other soft tissues to heal and decrease pain and inflammation.

A multidisciplinary team is working with clinical partners at the Hand and Upper Limb Centre (located at St. Joseph’s Health Care), patient partners, and the FHS MSK-IF to develop a wearable device that measures splint adherence through temperature and surface electromyography (sEMG) to understand the relationship between splinting (immobilization) and tissue healing and other important outcomes.


Pain Assessment Application

PI: Alison Rushton
Project Status: Stage - Planning: In Progress

Pain Assessment Application

Several applications exist to capture characteristics of pain data, but a recent systematic review highlighted considerable heterogeneity across content.

The purpose of this project is to enhance a patient-facing form to enable an extended dataset for several Western-associated musculoskeletal registries (e.g., SPINA, HULC, FKSMC) to collect a comprehensive range of pain assessment data to enable an in-depth understanding of the characteristics of pain for research.


Virtual Bone Health Program for Upper Extremity or Spinal Fragility Fracture

PI: Joy MacDermid, Tina Ziebart
Project Status: Stage - Execution: In Progress


An upper extremity fragility fracture indicates elevated risk of future fracture and begins the trajectory for a diagnosis of osteoporosis (OP).

With consultation from various healthcare professionals, FHS MSK-IF aims to refine the virtual fragility fracture bone health program developed at the Hand and Upper Limb Centre with the goal of making it suitable for scale-up to middle-aged adults with upper extremity or spinal fragility fractures. The program focuses on improving bone health through changes in diet, exercise, safe movement, medication, and falls prevention strategies.



Completed Projects

Multi-dimensional Symptom Index (MSI) Application

PI: Dave Walton

Pain frequency and pain interference are key indicators for interpreting chronic pain recovery, and several clinicians and researchers have shown interest in developing a tool that incorporates both of these aspects during the pain assessment. MSI allows respondents to indicate how often they experience each symptom, and how much each one interferes with their daily routine.

FHS MSK-IF develops the web application with enhanced user interface and workflow, allowing the users to easily generate a report to identify patients' conditions in a quick, holistic way.