A Biomechanical Assessment involves a complex evaluation of the feet, legs and body position whilst weight-bearing and non weight-bearing.
The average person’s feet when walking will only spent six tenths of a second in contact with the ground. Weight-bearing movement is usually assessed using hi-tech video treadmill gait analysis. Alternatively, it can be assessed using the Orthomed scanner which provides a 3D dynamic view of the foot ankle knee and hip motion. This unique new digital system has revolutionised the detection and treatment of lower and associated musculo-skeletal conditions The Orthomed Scanner is a £30,000 piece of equipment based in Sheffield at the Barn Clinic. It represents the ultimate hi-tech assessment tool which can capture the complex movements involved in gait. The Orthomed scanner at our clinic is one of only five in the UK.
The biomechanical examination is a critical part of the evaluation for functional foot orthotics. Assessment includes evaluation of:
Muscle strength, range-of-motion at important joints, and the angular relationships of the segments of the foot and leg.
The information gained from a biomechanical assessment forms the basis for a rehabilitation programme, or if the problem is mechanical -an orthotic prescription.
The Podiatrist’s evaluation will mainly concentrate on the assessment of the hip, knee and ankle joints.
Hip evaluation involves testing the range of motion with the knee flexed. Range of hip flexion with the knee extended is evaluated.
(Tight hamstring muscles will result in diminished motion.)
Evaluation of the rear-foot, includes motion at the sub-talar joint, and its angular relationship to the lower leg.
Motion at the big-toe joint (first metatarsal-phalangeal joint) is critical for the forward progression of the body during gait. A lack of motion here can cause an early arthritis in the joint, and even lower back pain.
Limitation on ankle extension may result from tight calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and Soleus)
If your condition is caused by a mechanical imbalance of a joint the Podiatrist may prescribe orthotics. Orthotics are devices designed to improve the way in which joints are aligned.
Before orthotics can be fabricated by the technician, three dimensional models of your feet or ‘casts’ must be constructed. The process of ‘Casting’ is an extremely skilled process requiring years of experience and expertise. Casting involves the Podiatrist holding the foot in a specific ‘neutral position’ relative to the lower-limb whist taking the impressions or ‘negatives’ of the feet. The negatives or models of your feet are then adapted as prescribed by the Podiatrist. The orthotics are then formed over the models of your feet.