Tracy Dierks has been an assistant/associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy in the School of Health and Human Sciences at IUPUI since the fall of 2005. He is a founding member of St. Vincent Sports Performance Science, where he conducts research.
His primary research involves running and walking gait, most notably in the area of patellofemoral pain syndrome, in addition to intervention and rehabilitation for gait related injuries and training for sports performance.
He received a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in exercise science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Ph.D. in biomechanics and human movement science from the University of Delaware.
Areas of Expertise
Running and walking gait, patellofemoral pain syndrome, running-related injuries, running mechanics, running injury prevention, Dynamical Systems Theory and Chaos Theory, run training, AlterG treadmill running, the influence of chronic stroke on gait mechanics and endurance, sports performance and injury prevention, multidisciplinary training, physical training, medical, nutrition and psychological training to comprehensively train athletes, Special Olympics physical fitness assessment.
His expertise includes:
Running and walking gait:
Mechanisms contributing to lower extremity running injuries; methods of joint coupling and coordination, impact forces, shock attenuation, injury history, and structural alignment. Intervention and rehabilitation of running related injuries, specifically patellofemoral pain syndrome; includes muscle strengthening of the lower extremities and core, gait retraining using real-time feedback, foot orthoses and footwear/shoes/barefoot running, to name a few. The role of variability in running mechanics and running injury prevention; methods of Dynamical Systems Theory and Chaos Theory. The influence of run training with reduced body weight on injury risk and running performance; AlterG treadmill running as a training protocol in runners. The effect of fatigue on lower extremity function during running/walking. The influence of chronic stroke on gait mechanics and endurance.
Sports performance and injury prevention:
Preparticipation screening in athletes to assess injury risk and aid in return-to-play decisions; quality of movement and dynamic stability tests and measures; ImPACT testing for neurocognitive reaction time and its association with performance, injury risk, and concussion. Multidisciplinary training for improving athlete skills and physical attributes; physical training, medical, nutrition and psychological training to comprehensively train athletes. Special Olympics physical fitness assessment