D. Casey Kerrigan, MD
Dr. Kerrigan, a Harvard Medical School graduate recognized by her academic peers for her groundbreaking peer-reviewed published research on gait (walking and running) and the effects of footwear, left her perfectly good job at the University of Virginia (UVa), where she was the first woman tenured professor and chair of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and professor of sports medicine, to make OESH.
For over 20 years she studied gait, beginning at the University of California, Los Angeles where she did her post-graduate residency (and simultaneously received a M.S. in Kinesiology). She returned to Harvard Medical School where she created one of the first sophisticated 3-D gait and motion laboratories in the United States. Later, she was recruited to UVa where she developed an even more sophisticated laboratory that could especially break down the biomechanics of both running and walking. Both the Harvard Motion Analysis Laboratory and the UVa Gait Laboratory, also known as the Speed Clinic are still going strong today.
Casey is well known for dramatically changing the way we think about gait and footwear–ripping apart old, sometimes disastrous concepts and rigorously testing new ones–that have now become standards of normal understanding. Casey is the one who first discovered a link between high-heeled shoes and knee osteoarthritis back in 1998 (which was widely publicized in numerous major news outlet including the New York Times, Time Magazine and ABC’s 20/20). And she is the one who published in 2009 that traditional running shoes also increase knee joint torques. She received the highest honors and level of support from numerous national and international entities including the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Throughout her career, the NIH repeatedly honored Casey’s work through its highly competitive peer-review process, with continuous funding for her research.
Casey’s research, along with her years of clinical experience treating the wide variety of problems linked to a dim understanding of footwear associated with walking and running, led her to develop and rigorously test OESH. Additional motivation derives in part from Casey’s experience as a distance runner at the University of Chicago, where she set several school records in the early 1980’s and from her devotion to her three daughters who all run…fast.