Bryan Heiderscheit is a professor in the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation and Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.

Bryan Heiderscheit

Heiderscheit is the director of research for UW Badger Athletic Performance, a collaborative effort he developed with the UW Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, which is dedicated to the mission of maximizing each student-athlete’s on-field performance through the integration of science, training, and injury management.

He maintains an active clinical practice through the UW Health Sports Medicine Runners’ Clinic, specializing in the care of individuals of all ages who experience a running-related injury.

He is an editor for the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy and a member of the Executive Committee of the Sports Physical Therapy Section, American Physical Therapy Association. He serves on a number of committees at the University of Wisconsin-Madison including the University of Wisconsin Faculty Senate and the steering committee of the UW Health Sports Physical Therapy Residency.

He earned his physical therapy degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and his MS and PhD in biomechanics from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. In addition, he completed training in clinical investigation through the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s Clinical Scholars Program.

Heiderscheit is recognized for his research aimed at understanding and enhancing the clinical management of orthopedic conditions, with particular focus on running-related injuries.


STepped Exercise Program for Knee OsteoArthritis (STEP-KOA)

This clinical trial will determine whether a stepped exercise training system is effective for increasing physical activity and improving key outcomes in veterans with knee osteoarthritis.

Funding: VA Health Services Research & Development

An Innovative Tool for Assessment of Gait Dysfunction in the Clinical Setting (Heiderscheit)

The goal of this Phase II proposal is to develop a refined instrumented gait analysis system (including hardware, clinical user interface, measurement protocol, and reporting) that is clinically useful and cost effective.

Funding: NIH/NICHD

Clinical, Biomechanical, and Novel Imaging Biomarkers of Hamstring Strain Injury Potential in Elite Athletes (Heiderscheit)

The major goals of this project are to identify risk factors associated with HSI in athletes and to investigate whether biomechanical measures in combination with novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound (US) methods can better assess time to return to sports and risk of re-injury.

Funding: NBA/GE Healthcare Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Collaboration

Injury Risk among Distance Runners: Biomechanics, Morphology and Training (Heiderscheit)

Monitoring fitness and performance of elite athletes before, during, and after a competitive season is important to ensure an athlete’s health and success. This may be especially important for Division 1 distance runners who train at high volumes during the season, placing them at risk for running-related injuries. Pre-season measures of running biomechanics, neuromuscular performance, and bone mass are combined with in-season recordings of running volume and time-loss injuries.

Having an expansive set of data allows for the ability to establish normative data for healthy, elite athletes based on gender, speed, and other relevant variables for each measure of interest. Furthermore, having baseline data and prospectively following the athletes through a season or throughout their collegiate career may be helpful to detect predictors of injury.

Movement Biomechanics, Neuromuscular Performance, and Functional Recovery after ACLR (Cobian and Heiderscheit)

Abnormal lower extremity movement biomechanics and neuromuscular performance are a barrier to successful return to sport in people post-anterior cruciate ligament injury and reconstruction (ACLR).

Our laboratory maintains ongoing investigations to:

  1. evaluate common clinical measures of recovery such as muscle mass and strength, single-leg hops, and patient-reported outcome surveys
  2. lower-extremity joint kinetics and kinematics during running and jumping in elite collegiate athletes throughout recovery post-ACLR
  3. assess leg muscle activation patterns during running and jumping in collegiate athletes post-ACLR
  4. compare movement biomechanics and muscle activation between post-ACLR athletes and control subjects.

Countermovement Jump Analysis in Division I Student Athletes (Cobian/Heiderscheit)

Countermovement jump (CMJ) performance is an important indicator of lower extremity explosiveness and can differentiate elite athletes from their novice counterparts. Greater CMJ eccentric (ECC) phase rate of force development (RFD) may enhance the stretch-shortening cycle kinetics and maximize CMJ performance. CMJ ECC RFD is inconsistently quantified, poorly defined, and has not been comprehensively investigated.

The objectives of this project are to:

  1. comprehensively define ground reaction force-time curve ECC and concentric (CON) phase variables, and determine which variables are significant predictors of CMJ height in collegiate athletes
  2. evaluate changes in CMJ performance and force-time curve variables throughout the collegiate career of individual athletes
  3. determine the influence of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction on CMJ performance and force-time curve profiles of collegiate athletes.

Development and Validation of the University of Wisconsin Running Injury and Recovery Index (Nelson/Heiderscheit)

The objective of this project is to develop the first running specific patient-reported outcome measure enabling clinicians and researchers to quantify limitations in running resulting from an injury. This project involves a multi-stage, iterative process to develop the outcome measure and evaluate the psychometric properties.

Health Related Quality of Life among Division I Collegiate Athletes (Heiderscheit)

The need to assess and support health and well-being in college students is supported by a number of high profile initiatives. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has stressed the importance of well-being and the application of evidence-based best practices for understanding and supporting mental health issues among student-athletes. For many athletes, sport-related musculoskeletal injuries result in significant time loss from activity and declines in athletic performance, which can negatively impact health-related quality of life.

This project seeks to better understand health-related quality of life among Division I collegiate athletes:

  1. as it relates to their general undergraduate peers
  2. relative to year in school
  3. how it changes after a sports-related injury