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In podiatry we use an understanding of biomechanics and musculoskeletal medicine to treat pain and pathologies in the lower limb and foot. An abnormal stance and gait (walking pattern) can be the cause of recurrent postural problems which commonly include back, hip, knee, ankle and foot pain.
Many lower limb and foot problems are stress injuries; caused by unsuitable/inappropriate footwear and poor biomechanics when walking or running. These problems can be treated using a combination of orthoses, advice on appropriate footwear, changes in activity and occasionally steroid-injections.
“Early recognition of abnormal foot and lower limb biomechanics can help avoid injury.”
Biomechanics within podiatry is the study of the interactions between the foot and the ground and how the resulting loads and forces are managed by the lower limb during everyday activity right through to high intensity sports activities. To affectively understand these forces and loads and how best to initiate a change in them, if required, principles developed within mechanics are applied to the body.
Each assessment will vary depending on the stage of injury the structures which are injured and the goals and aspirations of each patient which attends. Both weight bearing and non-weight bearing assessments are carried out, focusing any joint stiffness or range of motion issues, foot shape and muscle power imbalances or weakness.
Our podiatrists use video gait analysis as part of a biomechanical assessment. You will be asked to walk and run on the treadmill in order to precisely record your gait and the video will be played back for you to see and the podiatrist to examine. The video gait analysis enables the podiatrist to see whether there is any rotation in the pelvis during running, any alignment problems and excessive foot movement.
There are many different types of recommended treatments following a biomechanical assessment, depending upon your results. For people who have good structural foot mechanics, the podiatrist will advise on the best footwear in order to reduce the risk of foot problems. Simple changes such as wearing trainers designed for your gait or wearing insoles can be very effective.
If the podiatrist believes that your mechanics could be contributing to your injury or pain, insoles or custom made orthotics will be prescribed. Other advice can include:
Patients are referred to one of our physiotherapists if they will benefit from exercises to improve muscle strength or flexibility. Patients may also be referred to a consultant for imaging such as X-rays, MRI’s or CT-scans if required.
Biomechanical Podiatry can help alleviate the following conditions: