Associate Professor, Division of Physical Therapy
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

516P Atwell Hall
453 W. 10th Ave.
Columbus OH, 43210

Phone: 614-292-4336

Primary Professional Areas of Interest

  • Sports Medicine
  • Orthopaedics

Research Focus

Dr. Laura Schmitt’s main research focus is to understand the neuromuscular and biomechanical aspects of lower extremity injury, rehabilitation and performance. Specifically, her research focuses on neuromuscular and musculoskeletal adaptation to knee joint injury as related to the development of osteoarthritis and the development of evidence-based rehabilitation interventions and guidelines that enhance recovery.

Her first research area focuses on the neuromuscular, biomechanical, imaging, and functional outcomes following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction in children, adolescents and young adults. One objective of this longitudinal and prospective work is to provide evidence-based rehabilitation guidelines for return to sport following ACL reconstruction. The second objective of this study is to identify factors, early after ACL reconstruction, which may predispose individuals to articular cartilage degeneration and the early development of knee osteoarthritis. This work is collaboration with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. 

Her second research area focuses on the neuromuscular, biomechanical and functional outcomes of individuals with varying degrees of knee joint degeneration, from those with focal articular cartilage defects to end-stage knee osteoarthritis and total knee arthroplasty. The primary objectives of these studies are to inform medical decision-making and rehabilitation interventions that may optimize outcomes and promote long-term joint integrity in this patient population. This study is collaboration among many departments/divisions at OSU including Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine, Mechanical Engineering, Wright Center of Imaging and Biomedical Informatics. 

Dr. Schmitt’s third research area focuses on the lower extremity neuromuscular control and biomechanics of children, adolescents and young adults who are obese. The findings from this study will provide insight into the musculoskeletal co-morbidities associated with childhood obesity, as well as into appropriate physical activity and exercise recommendations that promote weight management and maintain long-term joint integrity. This study is collaboration with Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Schmitt has received funding for her work from the National Institutes of Health, National Football League Charities Medical Research Program, and the DJ Orthopedics, LLC.

Recent Research

Thoma LM, McNally MP, Chaudhari AM, Flanigan DC, Best TM, Siston RA, Schmitt LC. Muscle co-contraction during gait in individuals with articular cartilage defects in the knee. Gait and Posture, 2016; 48: 68-73. 

Ithurburn MP, Paterno MV, Ford, KR, Hewett TE, Schmitt LC. Young Athletes with Quadriceps Femoris Strength Asymmetry at the Time of Return to Sport after Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Demonstrate Asymmetric Single-Leg Drop-Landing Mechanics. American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2015 Nov; 43(11): 2727-37. PMID: 26359376 

Schmitt LC, Paterno MV, Ford KR, Myer GD, Hewett TE. Altered Knee Mechanics during Landing at the Time of Return to Sport following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: Effects of Quadriceps Strength Asymmetry. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2015 Jul; 47(7): 1426-34. PMID: 25373481

Recent Presentations

Ithurburn MP, Paterno MV, Ford KR, Hewett TE, Schmitt LC. Young Athletes after ACL Reconstruction with Asymmetric Single-Leg Drop-Landing Mechanics at the Time of Return-to-Sport Demonstrate Worse Knee Function Two Years Later. American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting. Anaheim, CA. February 2016. Platform presentation. *Excellence in Research Award, Sports Section* 

Altenburger A, Ithurburn M, Paterno M, Hewett T, Schmitt LC. The impact of quadriceps strength asymmetry at time of return to sport on longitudinal function in young athletes after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting. Anaheim, CA. February 2016. Platform presentation. 

Toole A, Ithurburn M, Rauh M, Hewett T, Paterno M, Schmitt LC. Young Athletes after ACL Reconstruction Cleared for Sports Participation: How Many Actually Meet Recommended Return to Sport Criteria? American Physical Therapy Association Combined Sections Meeting. Anaheim, CA. February 2016. Platform presentation.

Courses Taught

  • PHYSTHR 7235, Biomechanics in Physical Therapy
  • PHYSTHR 7220, Musculoskeletal Diagnosis and Management I
  • PHYSTHR 8210, Musculoskeletal Diagnosis and Management II
  • PHYSTHR 8276, Adaptive Equipment and Community Reintegration (course coordinator)
  • HTHRHSC 7150, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences II


  • 1999: BA, Psychology and Biology, University of Delaware
  • 2001: MPT, University of Delaware
  • 2006: PhD, Biomechanics and Movement Science, University of Delaware
  • 2009: Post-doctoral training, University of Cincinnati

My Research Links

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