Sam Kayll receives the Dean’s Award for Excellence for his work on footwear for adolescents with knee pain

Congratulations to Sam Andrew Kayll on receiving the Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health Sciences Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Research. This award, valued at $1000, recognises outstanding achievements by Graduate Researchers across the Faculty.

Sam headshot

Sam’s Research

One in three adolescents will experience kneecap pain. Of those diagnosed, 70% will reduce or cease physical activities within two years, commencing a cascade of chronic health conditions. It’s thought that high cumulative forces placed on the kneecap during adolescence contribute to pain. However, it’s unknown whether force differs between adolescents with and without kneecap pain or whether force is associated with pain. In addition, many adolescents diagnosed with kneecap pain have poor adherence to evidence-based treatments shown to be effective in adults, such as exercise. Sam’s research aims to keep adolescents with kneecap pain active by identifying alternative and low-burden treatments that reduce cumulative kneecap force.

One treatment option is footwear, as the first publication from Sam’s PhD showed minimalist footwear reduces kneecap forces by 9.7% during running in adults. He is currently using three-dimensional musculoskeletal modelling to investigate whether minimalist footwear reduces kneecap forces in adolescents during running. He is also investigating whether force is related to pain and comparing kneecap force between adolescents with and without kneecap pain during running.