Physical therapists’ research aims to limit pain for guide dog users

UNG’s Department of Physical Therapy is breaking new ground in its study of guide dogs, the visually impaired people who use them, and their harness devices.

Among the major findings is that guide dog use sharply reduces the risk of falls for visually impaired people, a result that Dr. Teresa Conner-Kerr, dean of UNG’s College of Health Sciences & Professions, said the university is the first to uncover. But an increase in joint pain complaints is also noted in these individuals after switching from other mobility aids to a guide dog, according to the research. Conner-Kerr said she and her fellow researchers want to develop a formal way of helping fit a dog and leash to their user to prevent physical problems.