What is Biomechanics?
Biomechanics is name given to the area of science concerned with the analysis of mechanics of human movement. In other words it is the science of explaining how and why the human body moves in the way that it does. Biomechanical assessment leads us to diagnosis and treatment planning.
Rarely do we find that our left and right sides are symmetrical. This is equally so for our feet and legs. Additionally, many of us have mild deformities – perhaps torsion in your pelvis, a bowed leg, or one leg longer than the other.
The foot is a complex structure of 28 different bones (not 26 as commonly cited), 214 ligaments and 38 muscles, bearing our body weight as we walk every day.
The examination is not focused simply upon the foot but includes pelvis, legs and knees, assessing the relationship between them. It is important to examine the lower limbs as a whole because they are closely connected and pain in one area can be due to a weakness or structural problem in another area.
When we stand, walk or run our body has to cope with and compensate for these anomalies. It is these compensations that put structures such as muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons under undue strain as they begin functioning in an abnormal or compromised manner. Over time the structures become inflamed or injured.
A Biomechanical assessment is an investigation into your lower limb function – looking closely for abnormalities and compensations. We can look closely into the underlying possible causes of heel pain, knee pain and even back pain.
Once we have identified the causes of your problems we can develop a tailor made treatment plan to improve your symptoms. This may involve one or more of the following:
- Exercises to stretch or strengthen muscles
- Orthoses – custom made devices for you to wear inside your shoe to control, realign or cushion the abnormalities.
- Footwear advice
- Referral on to other members of the healthcare team if further specialist advice is needed.
What is involved during an assessment?
A detailed biomechanical assessment takes about 30 minutes, with three parts; (You will need to wear or bring shorts with you).
- A full history will be taken including previous injuries, and details of the current presenting symptoms etc.
- Static assessment-an anatomical examination will take place, various specific measurements will be taken both laying down (non-weight bearing) and standing up (weight bearing), muscle testing will also be carried out.
- Dynamic assessment-you will be assessed whilst walking or running in order to understand what is happening during the gait cycle.
You will need to wear or bring shorts with you.
An orthotic is a medical device which, when used in the patients shoe will apply force to a specific area of the foot to support, realign, redistribute pressure or cushion the foot. Orthotics are often used to alleviate pressure on one or more areas of the musculoskeletal system in order to alleviate pain and discomfort.
Orthotics can be simple over the counter devices, more effective custom made devices which are made to the specifics of your foot. Tracy uses the most technologically advanced scanning software currently available, to ensure a good outcome for all of her patients.
Your foot is in contact with the ground for about .8 of a second when walking and about .25 of a second when running. Imagine trying to determine normal and abnormal foot function with the naked eye in a quarter of a second? This is too difficult for even the most experienced practitioner.
The Feet 24 7 force plate system is used for the measurement and analysis of foot plantar pressure during movement as well as while standing. The system supplies quantitative information about maximum pressure, average pressure and centre of pressure, though the foot during static stance and dynamic gait.