University of Virginia, 2010 - $9,945

The current gold standard treatment for forearm fractures includes a period of full immobilization of the site of injury (typically six to eight weeks) followed by routine physical therapy to regain muscle strength and range of motion. However, each year approximately 6.8 million Americans experience immobilization-induced muscle atrophy, which increases recovery time and vulnerability to further injuries.
This team’s solution is a modular cast design dubbed the PuzzleCast. It consists of several interlocking thermoplastic components that have the ability to unlock degrees of freedom while still maintaining immobilization of the injured area. By increasing range of motion during the healing process, blood flow is increased, muscle atrophy is reduced, and overall healing time and physical therapy are shortened.