Very often the pain and discomfort people experience from their feet is due to the way in which they stand, walk or run. Carrying out a biomechanical analysis allows us to assess the amount and quality of movement across particular joints of the lower limb and to identify areas of abnormal function.
A biomechanical assessment typically includes:
- static measurement of joint movements
- limb length measurements
- gait analysis
- pressure analysis
Along with an individual’s medical history and current exercise program a biomechanical profile is drawn up to govern their management plan.
Gait analysis is a visual assessment of an individual’s walking pattern. The patient is video recorded whilst walking/running on a treadmill and this is replayed in slow motion to break down components of their gait pattern in a more detailed manner. It is a diagnostic tool which helps highlight any functional abnormalities that may contribute to the individual’s problem.
Pressure analysis is a useful tool which helps map how the foot loads during the gait cycle and whether there are any prolonged high pressure points placed on the foot during this process. This allows us to identify where changes need to be made to help relieve pain and/or improve efficiency with the introduction of padding or orthoses.
Dependent on the biomechanical analysis, a number of different non-invasive therapies can be used in the management of lower limb pain. These may include:
- footwear advice
- exercise and training advice
- mobilisation techniques
- padding and strapping
- interdigital silicone splinting
- custom made orthoses
- further investigation – x-rays, ultrasound, MRI
- appropriate further referral