A biomechanical assessment involves an examination of the lower limbs, looking at their structure, alignment, strengths and weaknesses.
The foot is quite a complex structure of 28 different bones, 214 ligaments and 38 muscles, bearing our body weight as we walk every day.
The examination is focused upon the foot however it also includes the 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.
What are the benefits of a biomechanical assessment?
A biomechanical assessment is very beneficial if you are experiencing pain in your feet, knees, back or hips but no cause has been established. A biomechanical assessment is the starting point for understanding the cause of your problem, what treatment is needed or whether further investigations are necessary.
What happens 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 of 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 examines the structure of your foot, looking at the relationship between the forefoot and rearfoot.
The alignment of your feet and relationship to the lower legs will be assessed during standing and walking.
How long does a biomechanical assessment take?
It can take up to an hour to complete all the tests necessary, discuss the results and advise on the recommended treatment.
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 structural foot mechanics, we will simply 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.
We quite often prescribe simple strengthening and stretching exercises which are needed to improve muscle strength and flexibility. In certain cases a referral to a physiotherapist maybe necessary. Referrals may also be made to an osteopath, sports doctor and rheumatologist. Patient may also be referred for imaging such as X-rays, MRI’s or CT-scans
If however we believe that your mechanics could be contributing to your injury or pain, insoles or custom made orthotics will be prescribed. For more information on orthotics, click here
At our clinic we use a state of the arts digital scanner. TOG GaitScan™ is an innovative diagnostic tool and digital casting device that allows practitioners to analyse patient biomechanics and order custom orthotic products. With 4096 sensors and a scan rate of 300 frames per second, GaitScan™ is the industry leader in dynamic scanning capabilities.
What does this mean for you?
A new, in-depth method of assessing your gait cycle with a dynamic scan gives us a wealth of extra information that cannot be obtained with the naked eye. Over a million points of data are recorded, tracking minor flaws in your biomechanics and shedding light on issues that if left untreated, could develop into painful conditions over time.