There are many reasons why people experience biomechanical problems and that is why The Sportsphysio injury clinic provides a skilled thorough assessment, with every aspect of biomechanics taken into account from the foot to the spine.
The Foot Problem
As we walk, the foot should strike the ground gently under the heel. Natural forces encourage the foot to roll inward slightly from the rearfoot (pronate) in order to adapt to the surface.
Through mid stance and as the heel lifts off, a complex mechanical process turns the foot into a lever enabling effective propulsion. In effect, your foot needs to act as a stabilising device and a spring.
Rearfoot over pronation
In some feet, this leaning inward (pronation) of the rearfoot is excessive and causes strain to the joints and supporting ligaments of the foot. We call this excessive rearfoot complex pronation or over pronation.
Painful symptoms in the foot, lower leg, knee and spine develop as the medial arch collapses and knees are forced to rotate inward. Muscles become imbalanced, the knee cap (patella) ceases to track correctly and the “spring” effect of the foot is lost.
Excessive rearfoot supination
This occurs when too much pressure is placed on the outside of the foot (excessive supination), often associated with high medial arches.
Although not as common as over pronation, it can be more problematic. The foot is often quite rigid around the first metatarsal joint, knees are forced to rotate outward, the lumbar spine flattens and muscles become imbalanced.
Resultant early osteoarthritis of the foot, knee, hip and lower back caused by incorrect joint mechanics can combine with tight Iliotibial bands and very painful, inflexible feet as the toes “claw” and stresses are placed on the toe joints causing Metatarsalgia.
Many conditions such as heel pain, Metatarsalgia (pain under the toe joints), Plantar Fasciitis, Iliotibial Band syndrome and tendonitis are a sign that something may be wrong with the biomechanics of the foot.
- Genetics play a huge role in the type of foot you have inherited.
- Muscle imbalance and bony malalignment lead to dysfunction.
- The natural ageing process results in wear and tear to the joints and surrounding structures.
- Injury, disease and surgery can alter the natural biomechanics of the body.
- Neurological problems cause sensory and functional deficit.
- The type of footwear we use will influence our gait.