Podiatric biomechanics involves a complex evaluation of the structure, alignment and function of the feet and legs whilst standing, walking and non-weight bearing. The information gained from a biomechanical assessment forms the basis for a rehabilitation programme, or if the problem is mechanical, an orthotic will be prescribed.
During an assessment of the lower limb the following tests will be undertaken.
Using RS Scan technology as part of your biomechanical assessment.
Your joint range of motion will be assessed for all your foot joints, your leg, knee and lower back.
The alignment of your feet, legs, knees and thigh will be measured and calculated.
Your muscle strength will be assessed for your feet, leg, knee and thigh muscles.
A gait analysis combined with an evaluation of footwear, walking or sports habits.
Detailed assessment of underlying structure and function can help to identify factors that may be causing or contributing to discomfort.
Pain in the body is a way of warning you that something is wrong or misaligned in your body. If you ignore your pain, the condition causing it could become worse. Your practitioner will advise you of what you need to do to eliminate the pain and may prescribe orthotics for you.
Orthotics is custom-made foot insoles (a type of arch support) made from a cast of your feet which are worn inside everyday shoes and are able to be transferred from shoe to shoe.
Orthotics enable the feet to be held in a more stable position during walking and standing which helps control poor foot function by allowing only certain movements to take place at specific times.
How do they help?
Many ‘biomechanical’ (walking) complaints such as heel pain, knee pain and lower back pain are caused by poor foot function. Orthotics re-aligns the foot and ankle bones to their neutral position, thereby restoring natural foot function. In turn this helps alleviate problems in other parts of the body.
In addition, orthotics give a more even weight distribution, taking pressure of sore spots (e.g. the ball of the foot, corns in between toes, bunions) and they provide some shock absorption.
Prescription orthotics looks like insoles, but are biomechanical medical appliances that are custom made by gently correcting your specific foot function. Orthotics fit into your shoes as comfortably as an insole and they have the advantage of having been made from the precise shape of your feet. Prescription Orthotics is made from a variety of materials depending on your particular needs (e.g. casual, dress, sports shoes).
Signs and symptoms of a faulty foot function
Soreness or localised foot pain, heel pain.
Fallen arches, high arches.
Standing and walking or running gives joint pain on my back, hip, knees, ankles.
Shoes wear out quickly or unevenly.
One leg is shorter than the other (leg length discrepancy).
Your podiatrist can prescribe foot orthotics to help correct your specific foot problems. You can discuss any nagging foot, leg or back problems, and even simply asking if your feet could be part of the problem.
A biomechanical assessment is the examination of the structure, condition and performance of your feet as well as your posture and gait. This will establish the cause of discomfort so that the solution can be found. The examination is carried out by a qualified podiatrist (Health and Care Professions Council Registered).
Common Biomechanical complaints
Back, hip and knee pain caused by poor gait.
Big toe joint pain.
Metatarsalgia – Pain in the balls of the feet.