Biomechanical Assessment In Birmingham
Dr Foot Podiatry surgery is one of the leading biomechanical clinics in the Midlands. A biomechanical assessment is necessary to assess the quality and range of movement of the joints, to assess muscle strength and flexibility, to assess compensatory mechanisms, and to assess the way that you walk, paying particular attention to the way the foot contacts the ground at each stage of the gait cycle. We carry our manual diagnostic tests as well as a computerised Gait Scan in addition to this we have access to a treadmill in our clinic, your running & walking pattern can be analysed enabling our podiatrists to offer accurate advice concerning the most appropriate orthotics which maybe prescribed for you.
A biomechanical assessment is suitable for anyone experiencing lower back, knee, hip, and calf, ankle, or foot pain whereby the cause has not yet been established. The biomechanical assessment is the first step in understanding what the cause of the problem is, what can be done, and what further investigations or referrals to other health professionals are needed.
The assessment does not focus solely on the foot; we also assess the knee, hip, pelvis and spine, and assess their relationship with one another. It is important to take a holistic approach when performing a biomechanical assessment, this is because a pain may be present in an area due to weakness or poor structural alignment in another. In other words, the site of the problem is not necessarily where the cause originates; lower back pain, for example, can be the result of poor foot function.
The aim of a biomechanical assessment and treatment is to diagnose the cause of the problem, and then improve the function of the lower limb and foot, thereby reducing any painful symptoms that you may be experiencing as a result. Podiatry treatment following a biomechanical assessment may involve:
*Orthoses to improve foot function and redistribute pressure away from painful structures
*A stretching programme to increase range of movement and reduce muscle tightness
*A strengthening programme to strengthen weak muscles
*Padding and strapping to cushion and support
At Dr Foot Podiatry we prescribe two types of orthoses, these are casted, (also known as bespoke), and non-casted orthoses (sometimes referred to as ‘off the shelf’).
Dr Foot Podiatry can provide a pair of casted orthoses if necessary. Casted orthoses are bespoke; this means that they are made to measure. Casted orthoses are made by taking an impression of the foot in its corrected position. Once an impression of the foot has been made a prescription form is then filled out detailing the exact requirements, before being sent away for casting. The prescription for orthoses is formulated using the information gained from a biomechanical assessment and gait analysis. A biomechanical assessment and gait analysis must be performed prior to casted orthoses being prescribed.
A number of materials can be used in the making of orthoses; the material chosen by the podiatrist will depend on a variety of factors, such as activity level, weight, and pathology.
Non casted orthoses
Non casted orthoses, otherwise known as ‘off the shelf’ orthoses, are insoles that are ready made. Non casted insoles are much cheaper than bespoke orthoses, and for some people they may be all that is necessary to alleviate symptoms, however, they are not suitable for all foot pathologies. Non casted orthoses can also provide a good starting point for which to ‘try out’ orthoses, before purchasing the more expensive bespoke variety.
Orthoses have different benefits depending on the desired outcome, the type of orthoses prescribed, and individual prescription. The benefits that can be achieved through orthoses provision include:
Orthoses can improve a variety of foot and lower limb complaints, including:
We also carry out a gait scan using our TOG Gaitscan system with every biomehacnical evaluation. Improper foot motion may cause pain through the foot, or place extra pressure on the knees, hips and spine. If problems with foot alignment are noticed during the examination we use our TOG GaitScan system to investigate thoroughly. By simply walk on pad the force through the foot during a normal stride are measured 125 times per second.
The impressions feed into a computer which clearly displays areas of the foot which are under too much or little pressure. This information may guide our treatment towards manipulation of foot joints, low level laser, dry needling, taping etc. or indicate prescribing tailor-made orthotics designed for each foots’ needs.
Why is GaitScan so important?
Your foot is in contact with the ground for about 0.8 of a second when walking and about 0.25 seconds when running. Imagine trying to determine normal or abnormal foot function with the naked eye in a quater of a second? This is too difficult for even the most experienced practitioner. The GaitScan system records your timing sequences during normal gait as you walk or run across the pressure plate. This enables myself to have a clear picture of your foot mechanics and detemine whether you would benefit from wearing custom made foot orthotics.
How does Gaitscan work?
1. Scans the Foot
As you stand and then walk across the pressure plate, thousands of tiny sensors capture the distribution of pressure of your foot over time.
2. Maps Foot Pressure
From your step, the computer displays 2D and 3D visual representations of the pressure under your foot. You can see where you have too much or too little pressure.
3. Print a Report
The information is then summarised in a report that can be printed or emailed for you to see. The report findings wll help me evaluate your foot function and determine if the pain you are experiencing is related to faulty foot function.
4. Determines the need for Orthotic Therapy
The information from this report will assist me to determine if you need orthotic therapy and this will be discussed clearly and in detail with you and with no obligation
Having your running gait assessed before you begin training is essential.
With the help of specialised computer software and running gait specialists, your running pattern can be analysed and accurate advice can be offered as to which type of shoe you should choose. This procedure may seem like an expensive and inaccessible luxury but you would be wrong on both counts. This service is usually free and leaves you with peace of mind, knowing that that the shoes you use for your training are the right ones.
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