Smita Rao

Associate Professor of Physical Therapy

Smita Rao

Phone: 212-998-9194

Curriculum Vitae/Syllabi

Dr. Smita Rao, PT, PhD, is a clinician-scientist, who trained as a physical therapist and earned a Bachelor of Science (Physiotherapy) and Master of Science (Orthopedic Physiotherapy) at the University of Mumbai, India. She obtained her academic doctorate at the University of Iowa in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. Her dissertation examined foot and ankle changes in patients with diabetes. She completed a two-year post doctoral fellowship funded by the Arthritis Foundation, mentored by Deborah Nawoczenski, PT, PhD and Judy Baumhauer, MD. Her research agenda seeks to: 1) Identify impairments contributing to patients’ symptoms, 2) Develop and implement interventions that target specific impairments. 



Degrees Held

  • Ph.D. University of Iowa 2006
    Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science
  • M.S. Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College, University of Bombay 2000
    Orthopedic / Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy
  • B.S. Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College, University of Bombay 1998
    Physical Therapy


  • 2012 : ACR REF Rheumatology Scientist Development Award
  • 2009 : Invited Poster, Annual Meeting, Orthopedic Research Society
  • 2008 : Best e-Poster Award, Annual Meeting, American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society
  • 2006 : Honorable Mention, Outstanding Graduate Student as Mentor Award, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
  • 2005 : Nominee, Young Investigator Award, International Society of Biomechanics
  • 2004 : Whitaker Student Award, Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society
  • 2003 : Whitaker Student Award, Gait and Clinical Movement Analysis Society
  • 2003 : Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, The University of Iowa
  • 2000 : KC Mahindra Trust Scholarship for Post Graduate Studies in the US, Bombay, India
  • 1998 : Sir Dorab Tata Merit Scholarship, Bombay, India

Selected Publications

  • S Rao, Quantifying foot function in individuals with rheumatoid arthritis – recent advances and clinical implications. Invited Editorial, Arthritis Care & Research.
  • S Rao, J Riskowski J, M Hannan. Musculoskeletal conditions of the foot and ankle: Assessments and treatment options. Invited Review, Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, 2012 Jun;26(3):345-68. (view)
  • S Rao, Song J, Kraszewski A, Backus S, Ellis SJ, Deland JT, Hillstrom HJ. The Effect of Foot Structure on 1st Metatarsophalangeal Joint Flexibility and Hallucal Loading. Gait and Posture. 2011; 34 (1):131-7. (view)
  • S Rao, Baumhauer JF, Nawoczenski DA. Is Barefoot Regional Plantar Loading Related To Self-Reported Foot Pain In Patients With Midfoot Osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 2011; 19 (8): 1019-25. (view)
  • Wilken JM, S Rao, (corresponding author) Estin M, Saltzman CL, Yack HJ. A New Device for Assessing Ankle Dorsiflexion Range of Motion: Reliability and Validity. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. (In Press) (view)
  • S Rao, Ellis SJ, Deland JT, Hillstrom HJ. (Invited Review) Nonmedicinal therapy in the management of ankle arthritis. Current Opinion in Rheumatology. 2010; 22(2):223-228 (view)
  • S Rao, Baumhauer JF, Tome J, Nawoczenski DA. Orthoses Alter In Vivo Segmental Foot Kinematics during Walking in Patients with Midfoot Arthritis. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2010; 91: 608-615. (view)
  • S Rao, Saltzman CL, Yack HJ. The Relationship between Segmental Foot mobility and Loading in Individuals with and without Diabetes and Neuropathy. Gait Posture. 2010; 31(2): p. 251-5. (view)
  • Patel A, S Rao, Nawoczenski D, Baumhauer J. (Invited Review) Midfoot Arthritis: Nonoperative Options and Decision Making for Fusion. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 2010;18: 1-10 (view)
  • S Rao, Baumhauer JF, Tome J, Nawoczenski DA. Comparison of in vivo segmental foot motion during walking and step descent in patients with midfoot arthritis and matched asymptomatic control subjects. J Biomech. 2009;42:1054-1060. (view)
  • S Rao, Baumhauer JF, Becica L, Nawoczenski DA. Shoe inserts alter plantar loading and function in patients with midfoot arthritis. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2009;39:522-53. (view)
  • S Rao, Saltzman CL, Yack HJ. Segmental foot mobility in individuals with and without diabetes and neuropathy. Clin Biomech. 2007;22(4):464-71. (view)
  • S Rao, Yack HJ, Wilken JM, Saltzman CL. Increased passive ankle stiffness and reduced dorsiflexion range of motion in individuals with diabetes mellitus. Foot Ankle Int. 2006;27(8):617-22. (view)
  • S Rao, Saltzman CL, Yack HJ. Ankle rom and stiffness measured at rest and during gait in individuals with and without diabetes and neuropathy. Gait Posture. 2006 Nov;24(3):295-301. (view)

Copyright and Attribution

Unless noted otherwise, all components of this document and the accompanying source code and binary files are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/; or, (b) send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 2nd Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Photo copyright Raj Sarma. www.rajsarma.com.

Research Interests

  • Translational research in diabetes and osteoarthritis
  • Gait analysis, plantar pressure
  • Self-reported outcomes, musculoskeletal imaging
  • Evidence-based Practice, Sports Medicine
  • Kinematic and computational models of the foot