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A biomechanical assessment is a process used by podiatrists as a way of analysing the function of the foot and lower limb, to determine any contributing factors to foot pain or injury.
What is a biomechanical assessment?
A biomechanical assessment involves the analysis of the foot, lower limb and body as a whole. This can include examinations whilst weight bearing, non-weight bearing and during walking. The reasoning behind this is that the foot does not work alone as a single unit, it works in relation to the pelvis, legs and knee, and as a result of this issues in one area can have an impact on another. A biomechanical assessment will look at this relationship and conclude whether pain in one area is due to weakness or structural problems in another. Following a biomechanical assessment, a podiatrist will be able to provide you with advice and plan a treatment accordingly
What podiatry related conditions can a biomechanical assessment help with?
There are many conditions where a biomechanical assessment may be beneficial, the following are some of the most common conditions:
- Shin splints
- Plantar fasciitis
- Runners knee/knee pain
- Limb length discrepancies
- Over pronation of the foot
- Flat feet
- Posterior tibial tendonitis
What does a biomechanical assessment involve?
A podiatrist will look at the patient sitting, standing and during gait (movement). These assessments may be carried out both barefoot and wearing shoes. The podiatrist will assess muscle strength, the range of motion at each joint and the different angles of the forefoot and rearfoot in relation to each other and the leg. A gait analysis may involve video recording on a treadmill to assess this relationship during walking. Once the full assessment has been carried out, the practitioner will determine if and what further treatment is necessary. This may include the prescription of orthoses/insoles or specific stretching or strengthening exercises.
Who could benefit from a biomechanical assessment?
Those who are suffering discomfort in the lower limb which may be contributed to the foot posture or gait.
What are the benefits of a biomechanical assessment?
A biomechanical assessment can be beneficial for a number of reasons. It can lead to;
- A reduction in pain levels
- Better posture
- Prevention of further injury
- Increased muscle strength
- A more efficient gait
- A greater joint range of motion
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