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photo of Sherry I. Backus, PT, DPT, MA

Sherry I. Backus, PT, DPT, MA



Dr. Sherry Backus has been a physical therapist in the Rehabilitation Department of HSS and part of the Leon Root MD, Motion Analysis Laboratory (previously the Pathokinesiology Laboratory) staff since 1982. She is currently responsible for both clinical and research testing and design at the Leon Root MD, Motion Analysis Laboratory. In addition to clinical gait analysis, she has expertise in strength testing, functional performance measures and electromyography in individuals of all ages.

Dr. Backus lectures on physical therapy, biomechanics, and gait analysis (both pediatric and adult orthopaedics) in New York area universities and hospitals, but also at the University of Tennessee-Memphis. She has spoken both nationally and internationally on gait analysis research.

Her research interests are in the quantitative and qualitative analysis of lower and upper extremity movement dysfunction, particularly in using data to better inform surgery, therapy and performance. Her research focuses on shoulder and wrist biomechanics and function; hip, knee and ankle biomechanics and function; and muscle function in healthy individuals and those who have had orthopedic surgery. She has collaborated with orthopedic surgeons, scientists and biomechanists.



Clinical Supervisor, Hospital for Special Surgery


International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery Best Paper Awards Finalist, 2016
Cervical Spine Research Society – European Section, Best Poster Award, 2013
International Society for the Study of the Lumbar Spine, Young Investigator's Award, 2013
Cervical Spine Research Society – Asia Pacific Section, Best Podium Award, 2013
Founders' Award, 2012
Whitecloud Basic Science Award Finalist, 2010
New Investigator Research Award Finalist, Orthopaedic Research Society, 2003
NIH Training grant award (T32), 2001
Marion Wilson Award, 1997
Patricia Harris Foundation Award, 1994



Publications by

Selected Publications

Wolff AL, Garg R, Kraszewski AP, Hillstrom HJ, Hafer JF, Backus SI, Lenhoff ML, Wolfe SW. Surgical Treatments for Scapholunate Advanced Collapse Wrist: Kinematics and Functional Performance. J Hand Surg Am. 2015 Aug;40(8):1547-53. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2015.04.035. Epub 2015 Jun 17. PMID: 26092664

Drefus LC, Buckland MA, Backus SI, Root L. The functional effect of a distal rectus femoris tenotomy in adults with cerebral palsy. Gait Posture. 2014 May;40(1):145-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2014.03.017. Epub 2014 Mar 28. PMID: 24742707

Hillstrom HJ, Garg R, Kraszewski A, Lenhoff M, Carter T, Backus SI, Wolff A, Syrkin G, Cheng R, Wolfe SW. Development of an anatomical wrist joint coordinate system to quantify motion during functional tasks. J Appl Biomech. 2014 Aug;30(4):586-93. doi: 10.1123/jab.2011-0094. Epub 2014 Mar 10. PMID: 24615208

Hillstrom HJ, Buckland MA, Slevin CM, Hafer JF, Root LM, Backus SI, Kraszewski AP, Whitney KA, Scher DM, Song J, Furmato J, Choate CS, Scherer PR. Effect of shoe flexibility on plantar loading in children learning to walk. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 2013 Jul-Aug;103(4):297-305. PMID: 23878382

Mootanah R, Song J, Lenhoff MW, Hafer JF, Backus SI, Gagnon D, et al. Foot type biomechanics part 2: Are structure and anthropometrics related to function? Gait Posture. 2013 Oct 26;37(3):452-6.

Backus SI, Tomlinson D, Vanadurongwan B, Lenhoff MW, Cordasco FA, Chehab E, et al. A spectral analysis of rotator cuff musculature electromyographic activity: Surface and indwelling. HSS Journal. 2011 Feb;7(1):21-8.

Rao S, Song J, Kraszewski A, Backus SI, Ellis SJ, Deland JT, et al. The effect of foot structure on 1st metatarsophalangeal joint flexibility and hallucal loading. Gait Posture. 2011 May;34(1):131-7.

Cordasco FA, Chen NC, Backus SI, Kelly BT, Williams RJ,3rd, Otis JC. Subacromial injection improves deltoid firing in subjects with large rotator cuff tears. HSS J. 2010;6(1):30-6.

Nestor BJ, Toulson CE, Backus SI, Lyman SL, Foote KL, Windsor RE. Mini-midvastus vs. standard medial parapatellar approach: A prospective, randomized, double-blinded study in patients undergoing bilateral total knee arthroplasty. J Arthroplasty. 2010 Sep;25(6 Suppl):5,11, 11.e1.

Carter TI, Pansy BS, Wolff AL, Hillstrom HJ, Backus SI, Lenhoff MW, et al. Accuracy and reliability of three different techniques for manual goniometry for wrist motion: A cadaveric study. J Hand Surg Am. 2009 Oct;34(8):1422-8.

Kopp FJ, Backus SI, Deland JT, O'Malley MJ. Anterior tibial tendon rupture: Results of operative treatment. Foot Ankle Int. 2007 Oct;28(10):1045-1047.

Brophy RH, Backus SI, Pansy BS, Lyman S, Williams RJ,3rd. Lower extremity muscle activation and alignment during the soccer instep and side-foot kicks. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2007 May;37(5):260-8.

Gardner MJ, Barker JU, Briggs SM, Backus SI, Helfet DL, Lane JM, et al. An evaluation of accuracy and repeatability of a novel gait analysis device. Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2007 Apr;127(3):223-7.

Kelly BT, Williams RJ,3rd, Cordasco FA, Backus SI, Otis JC, Weiland DE, et al. Differential patterns of muscle activation in patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic rotator cuff tears. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2005 Mar-Apr;14(2):165-71.

Page C, Backus SI, Lenhoff MW. Electromyographic activity in stiff and normal elbows during elbow flexion and extension. J Hand Ther. 2003 Jan-Mar;16(1):5-11.

Kelly BT, Backus SI, Warren RF, Williams RJ,3rd. Electromyographic analysis and phase definition of the overhead football throw. Am J Sports Med. 2002 Nov-Dec;30(6):837-44.

Pollo FE, Otis JC, Backus SI, Warren RF, Wickiewicz TL. Reduction of medial compartment loads with valgus bracing of the osteoarthritic knee. Am J Sports Med. 2002 May-Jun;30(3):414-21.

Sarwahi V, Boachie-Adjei O, Backus SI, Taira G. Characterization of gait function in patients with postsurgical sagittal (flatback) deformity: A prospective study of 21 patients. Spine. 2002 Nov 1;27(21):2328-37.

Lane JM, Christ GH, Khan SN, Backus SI. Rehabilitation for limb salvage patients: Kinesiological parameters and psychological assessment. Cancer. 2001 Aug 15;92(4 Suppl):1013-9.

Kawai A, Backus SI, Otis JC, Inoue H, Healey JH. Gait characteristics of patients after proximal femoral replacement for malignant bone tumour. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2000 Jul;82(5):666-9.

Lenhoff MW, Santner TJ, Otis JC, Peterson MG, Williams BJ, Backus SI. Bootstrap prediction and confidence bands: A superior statistical method for analysis of gait data. Gait Posture. 1999 Mar;9(1):10-7.

Kawai A, Backus SI, Otis JC, Healey JH. Interrelationships of clinical outcome, length of resection, and energy cost of walking after prosthetic knee replacement following resection of a malignant tumor of the distal aspect of the femur. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1998 Jun;80(6):822-31.

Kroll MA, Ganz SB, Backus SI, Benick R, MacKenzie CR, Harris L. A tool for measuring functional outcomes after total hip arthroplasty. Arthritis Care Res. 1994 Jun;7(2):78-84.

Panariello RA, Backus SI, Parker JW. The effect of the squat exercise on anterior-posterior knee translation in professional football players. Am J Sports Med. 1994 Nov-Dec;22(6):768-73.

Otis JC, Warren RF, Backus SI, Santner TJ, Mabrey JD. Torque production in the shoulder of the normal young adult male. The interaction of function, dominance, joint angle, and angular velocity. Am J Sports Med. 1990 Mar-Apr;18(2):119-23.

Otis JC, Backus SI, Komorowski JR. Energy cost versus velocity in limb salvage patients and above-knee amputees. In: Lantz S, King AI, editors. 1986 Advances in Bioengineering. American Society of Mechanical Engineers; 1986.

Industry Relationships

Industry Relationships

One of the goals of HSS is to advance the science of orthopedic surgery, rheumatology, and related disciplines for the benefit of patients. Research staff at HSS may collaborate with outside companies for education, research and medical advances. HSS supports this collaboration in order to foster medical breakthroughs; however, HSS also believes that these collaborations must be disclosed.

As part of the disclosure process, this website lists Research staff collaborations with outside companies if the Research staff member received any payment during the prior year or expects to receive any payment in the next year. The disclosures are based on information provided by the Research staff and other sources and are updated regularly. Current ownership interests and leadership positions are also listed. Further information may be available on individual company websites.

As of May 31, 2023, Dr. Backus reported no relationships with healthcare industry.

By disclosing the collaborations of HSS Research staff with industry on this website, HSS and its Research staff make this information available to patients and the public, thus creating a transparent environment for those who are interested in this information. Further, the HSS Conflicts of Interest Policy does not permit payment of royalties on products developed by him/her that are used on patients at HSS.