Born to Move: Embracing our Evolutionary Legacy

Date(s) - 10/23/2023
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Communicore, C1-11

Irene S. Davis, PhD, PT, FACSM, FAPTA, FASB, Professor, School of Physical Therapy & Rehab Sciences, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida

Abstract: As humans, we were born to move. The underlying premise of this presentation is that many of the biomechanical faults and musculoskeletal injuries that we sustain are related, in part, to a mismatch in the way that we evolved to move and our movement (and lack thereof) today.  The presentation will be given in three parts.  The first part will review our evolutionary history as hunter gathers,  In the second part, the mismatch theory of evolution will be presented. Then, evidence for the biomechanical consequences of this mismatch leading to injury will be addressed.  Finally, the last part of the talk will focus on ways we can reverse the mismatch and reduce the risk for injuries in the future.

Dr. Irene Davis is a Professor in the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science in the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida.  Prior to this, she was the founding Director of the Spaulding National Running Center, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Davis received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from the University of Massachusetts, and in Physical Therapy from the University of Florida.  She earned her Masters degree in Biomechanics from the University of Virginia, and her PhD in Biomechanics from Pennsylvania State University.  She is a Professor Emeritus in Physical Therapy at the University of Delaware where she served on the faculty for over 20 years.  Her research is focused on the relationship between lower extremity structure, mechanics and injury. Her research also extends to the development of interventions to alter faulty mechanics through gait retraining. She has been studying the use of wearable sensors in both the evaluation and treatment of injured runners. Her interests also include the effect of minimal footwear on mechanics and injury.   Dr. Davis has received funding from the Department of Defense, and National Institutes of Health to support her research.  She has given over 350 lectures both nationally and internationally and authored 160 publications on the topic of lower extremity mechanics during walking and running gait. She has been named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Running.  She is a Fellow and Past President of the American Society of Biomechanics, and the 2019 ASB Borelli award winner and the 2023 ISB Muybridge award winner.  She is also a Fellow, past Vice President  and current President of the American College of Sports Medicine.  Finally, she is a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association.