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William C. Hawkins, Sami Shalhoub, Phillip Gallagher, Phillip Vardiman. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas; e-mail: wchawkins@ku.edu

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is a popular treatment technique to reduce pain, help improve functional range of motion and corresponding functional task completion. IASTM is widely used not only in sports medicine and physical therapy contexts but also in occupational therapy in an effort to expedite return to work. Irrespective of IASTM’s popularity there are few controlled, clinical research studies that have demonstrated its efficacy and even fewer that have demonstrated the underlying mechanism of improvement. PURPOSE The purpose of this project was to develop novel tooling that will allow our laboratory to quantify and potentially control pressure administered during IASTM treatment. The other purpose of this project was to develop tooling and methodology to calibrate our tooling and test its validity. METHODS In order to capture the full range of pressure administered during an IASTM treatment a two-dimensional load cell with a dynamic range of 0-100 lbs was utilized (Omegadyne Inc, Ohio, USA). The load cell was attached to a steal handlebar that was machined at the University of Kansas by a bolt that was also machined in-house. Once the load cell was reversibly mounted to the handlebar the other end of the load cell was reversibly mounted to the IASTM tool using a custom machined instrument vice (Figure 1). Once our final product was built we calibrated and tested the reliability by mounting the handlebar in a vice and loading the leading edge of the IASTM tool with standardized brass weights (Figure 2). Voltage data were collected using a National Instruments Data Acquisition Unit (Texas, USA). RESULTS The three point calibration used to calibrate the tooling and convert voltage readings into Newton’s of force yielded an of (0.999). CONCLUSION Our results indicate that the tooling designed during this project is valid for quantifying pressure administered during an IASTM treatment. The development of this tooling will allow our laboratory and others to quantify pressure during future controlled research of IASTM.

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