Hip Grip Pelvic Stabilization Device 

Need for Better Pelvic Support

Project Goal

The goal of this research project is to develop an innovative, dynamic pelvic stabilization device. The Hip Grip will consist of contoured pads that "grip" the pelvis and allow anterior/posterior tilting of the pelvis. Mounted to a wheelchair, it will offer firm support around the pelvis, while allowing the user to actively extend the lumbar spine without losing pelvic position within the wheelchair. The Hip Grip will be comfortable, adjustable, and will improve posture. The Hip Grip will link the user with the wheelchair to provide a stable base of support from which to perform functional tasks, such as reaching and bending, without risk of falling out of the wheelchair. This will potentially increase wheelchair propulsion efficiency and user independence.

Need for Better Pelvic Support

Many people who rely on specialized seating in their wheelchairs have difficulties achieving and maintaining good sitting posture. Maintaining appropriate pelvic positioning and stability are critical to achieving proper sitting posture. Commercially available positioning devices do not provide firm support for the pelvis while allowing functional movement, and often result in misalignment and areas of high pressure.

Phase I Hip Grip Prototype

In Phase I, a prototype was developed and evaluated by 20 wheelchair users during a brief clinical evaluation. The Hip Grip prototype incorporated rear, front, and side support of the pelvis in an adjustable unit which allowed the pelvis to pivot forward about the hip joint within a specified range. The Hip Grip reduced undesired pelvic movement and provided variable resistance to bring the pelvis back into its neutral posture after allowing movement. The device improved posture, comfort, and upper body function in the majority of the subjects.

Phase II Proposed R&D

The objectives of Phase II of the research project were to:

  • refine the Hip Grip based upon Phase I results;
  • perform safety and durability testing; and
  • conduct a 3-6 month clinical evaluation with 20 wheelchair users to determine the postural and functional benefits and to optimize the design to better control pelvic movement and enhance upper body function.

Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health through Small Business Innovation Research Phase I Grant #1 R43 HD36156-01
Phase II Grant # 2 R44 HD36156-02A2

Phase II final report (pdf).