The ending of a book is the most important, it ties the story together, makes amends between characters and reveals the meaning of the book. Much like a book, my tenth grade project has many chapters found throughout this blog. We are approaching the end and, I will not lie, I am a bit excited. We have been doing this project since January. That is 3 months working on the same device, finding ways to improve it, making sure it works and stands out on the market. It has been a struggle with this project. Like the knee, the elbow is a hinge joint, there are many injuries that can occur with the elbow. The injury that our group chose to focus on is Lateral Epicondylitis, which I am sure I have talked about before. Lateral Epicondylitis happens when an athlete uses their elbow repeatedly in an improper way. This makes the extensor tendons stressed and can cause the tendons to tear. The prevention devices that are already on the market are all the same when you look at them. There are elbow compression sleeves and arm bands that you are supposed to place 1-2 inches below the elbow. Both of these devices distributes pressure from the extensor tendons to the rest of the elbow, in other words, “it takes the work load off one area”. We have made various improvements to our device. We started out with a compression sleeve that had padding on the olecranon and heating throughout the sleeve. (Sketch of initial design show below)
As we progressed through this project, many things came into view as we learned more about the anatomy and our target audience, baseball players. Every athlete warms up before playing, therefore we eliminated the heated foam.However, though our focus injury is Lateral Epicondylitis, many of my team members though it would be a good idea to add regular padding to the olecranon area. Baseball players tend to slid into base, or they fall. An olecranon fracture is caused by a fall of an outstretched arm. Have you ever seen a dramatic baseball moment where the player falls with his arm out and catches the ball? Well, that player could potentially fracture his olecranon. (Sketch of design shown below)
My role in out group is the anatomy specialist, I am in charge of everything having to do with the structure of the elbow and how our device works. I tend to spend my time researching while my team focuses on the construction of our prototype. As I have been doing my research, I have noticed how we could have made major changes in the past, whereas now it is far too late. 1-3% of the population is affected by Lateral Epicondylitis. Olecranon fractures are approximately 10% of the upper extremity fractures in adults. Both of the aforementioned statistics are very small, thus can cause some future marketing problems. Such as, will your product sell enough? Is it worth investing in? We still have much work to do before our presentation, but as our last chapter closes, I am not worried at all for the final words.