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Biomechanical Assessment & Video Gait Analysis
Reaching a diagnosis for pain in the lower limb is just a starting point and can usually be fairly straight forward. What is more intriguing is finding out why the pain is occurring. This is where Biomechanics can play its part with an examination of the lower limb, looking at the structure, alignment, strengths and weaknesses. By identifying the cause of the pain, appropriate steps can be taken in order to prevent repetition of the problem.
How can a Podiatrist help?
A Podiatrist who specialises in Musculoskeletal Podiatry can provide symptom relief in many situations by improving foot function thereby improving walking, standing, dancing and sporting activities and reducing the chance of repetitive sports injuries. Conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathies, shin splints, knee compartmental degeneration, runners and jumpers knee (iliotibial band syndrome & patellofemoral joint pains), metatarsalgias (including Morton's neuroma), stress fractures, trochanteric bursitis and tibialis posterior injuries are just some of the common pathologies that can be helped by a podiatrist.
What are the benefits of a Biomechanical Assessment?
A biomechanical assessment can be very beneficial if you are suffering from foot pain, knee pain, hip pain or low back pain for which no cause has been established, if you are concerned with the shape of your feet or if you have areas of recurrent heavy callus or painful corns. The assessment is generally the starting point for understanding the cause of any problem, establishing what treatment is required or in more complex cases, whether referrals to other specialists for further investigations are necessary.
What will happen during a Biomechanical Assessment
The podiatrist starts by taking a full medical history. Then you will be asked to lie on a couch while the podiatrist examines the joint range of motion in your hips, knees and feet. Your muscle strength and weakness will also be assessed and the podiatrist will look for any signs of leg length discrepancy. The podiatrist will examine the structure of your foot, looking at the relationship between the forefoot and rearfoot. While you stand in a relaxed stance, the alignment of your feet and relationship to the lower legs will be assessed.
You may be asked to walk and possibly run on a treadmill (if you feel safe and comfortable) so the Podiatrist can observe and video your gait. This video gait analysis enables the podiatrist to see whether there are any alignment problems or excessive foot movement.
What sort of treatment will I need after a biomechanical assessment?
There are many different types of recommended treatments following a biomechanical assessment, depending upon your results.
For people who have good structure and foot mechanics, the podiatrist will advise on the best type of footwear in order to reduce the risk of foot problems. Simple changes such as wearing trainers or other supportive footwear designed for your gait, or wearing insoles can be very effective.
If the podiatrist believes that your foot mechanics could be contributing to your injury or pain, insoles or custom made orthotics will be prescribed.
Where the Podiatrist feels the problems are more complex, you will probably be advised to seek the opinions of other complementary specialists e.g. Physiotherapists, Sports Therapists, Osteopaths, Rheumatologists or Surgeons.
Insoles and Orthotics
Orthotics are devices used to cushion and support the feet or to modify foot function. They are designed to treat, adjust and support various biomechanical foot disorders. Some Orthotics are simple, commercially made devices, such as cushioned heel cups or insoles for shoes that are sold over the counter in chemists or other retail establishments.
The most effective orthotics, however, are custom made devices that are crafted to meet the specific needs of a particular individual. Custom orthotics are often made by taking a plaster cast of the foot, which duplicates any misalignments in the foot structure. The cast along with a prescription written by a Podiatrist is sent to an orthotic laboratory where a made to measure device is produced, often using computer technology.
Aliped Podiatry - Chiropody & Podiatry Services in Cambridgeshire.
The Old Post Office
Tel: 01832 710401