POW! is my team, consisting of Mariana, Julia and Eleanor. We chose the elbow because it is complex and no other team has it. Originally, we wanted to work with the knee but, there were many teams working with that joint and a fear that we had as a team was that our product would be very similar to other team’s designs.
We created a model of the elbow in the makerspace, that has many complications. The model kept breaking and we had to come up with ways to hold everything together yet still make it move like the elbow. This mini project helped me see how all of the components of the elbow worked together to make the joint work. Unlike the project we had in the first semester, coming up with our design was a little bit different and less structured. We did more research prior to coming up with the design. When researching, my team broke it up to each person, I was in charge of the detailed joint anatomy and doing this research helped me understand the elbow better. Dr. Marc Beauchamp’s website gave a lot of information on the elbows anatomy. I did not know that the forearm had about eight muscles. The major ligaments in the elbow are the ulnar collateral, radial collateral and the annular ligaments and these are the ligaments that we are trying to protect (see figure 1).
Our “focus sport” is baseball (for all ages). The most common elbow injury is lateral epicondylitis, also known as “tennis elbow”. Lateral epicondylitis is a condition causing pain on the outside of the elbow. You can get lateral epicondylitis by over using the elbow in a “wrong way”. By wrong way, I mean using the elbow is a way that puts stress on the ulnar collateral and radial collateral ligaments. This will cause small tearing in those ligaments. This is what we are trying to prevent.
Our design (figure 2) is much like a compression sleeve. A way to prevent lateral epicondylitis is to add compression to the surrounding muscles to even out the stress through the arm. That is one thing we are trying to do, we also would like to add padding to around the proximal and distal ends of the humerus, radius and ulna to prevent breakage if/when a player falls or slides. We also had a type of heating added to it to relax the muscles, but when we conducted our version of Shark Tank in class I noticed that, that portion of our design is not necessary. Once we get back into class, I want to bring up the topic with my group and discuss it.
I am very happy with the direction that my group is heading. Compared to last semester, this project seems to be working in a very positive manner. I believe that by the end of the semester, we will have a very nice project. We all tend to think very deeply about what we are doing and why we are doing it.
References: Ligaments of the Elbow. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dreamstime.com/