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Podiatry (biomechanics)


Biomechanics is the science of how bones and muscles enable the body to move, these principles are used by podiatrists to help improve the alignment of the body.

Good alignment helps the body move efficiently, reducing the potential for muscles and joints to become injured.

Poor foot posture such as over pronation may compromise how you walk or run. The alignment problem may be very subtle and the foot itself may not be painful but a slight fault repeated with every step can become very debilitating. Foot function can be improved very effectively using custom made 'orthotics'.

When there is a problem

Pain and injury can arise when structures of the lower limb are not quite in line with each other when you are walking or running. This is referred to as ‘malalignment’. The slightest individual variation in alignment can be the cause of the pain. Orthotic shoe inserts prevent pain and further problems by re-aligning the limb.

Lower limb problems are surprisingly common in all ages, yet many go untreated or are treated unsuccessfully because the cause of the symptoms is not treated, and so pain may reoccur.

The lower limb

Do your children suffer from:
  • Knee pain? Osgood Schlatters Disease
  • Heel pain? Severs Disease
  • Arch pain? Kohlers Disease
  • Forefoot pain? Freibergs Infarction
Do you suffer from:
  • Knee pain? Chondromalacia patellae, Patellofemoral syndrome, Pes anserinus, ITB bursitis
  • Shin pain? Shin splints front, back, side, Medial tibial stress syndrome, Compartment syndrome
  • Heel pain? Plantar fascitis/heel spur
  • Back of heel pain? Achilles tendonitis
  • Foot ‘in rolling’? Pronation
  • Fallen arches/Flat feet? Pes planus
  • Are you starting to develop bunions? Hallux Abducto Valgus

There are many other conditions in the lower limb, including hip and low back, which are caused by poor foot mechanics. Just because the feet do not hurt, does not mean they are not at fault.

The bones of the foot

The way that you walk affects the function of the 26 bones in each foot. This may effect the function of the joints further up the limb and in the back. Very slight individual variations, which are only visual to the trained eye, will determine the cause of individual problems.

What can be done?

The Podiatrist will undertake a biomechanical examination which involves assessing joint range of motion, gait and muscle tests. Then the cause of the condition can be established, and the Podiatrist will be able to formulate an appropriate treatment plan to suit the individual case.

In most cases of malalignment, ORTHOTICS are the treatment of choice.

Orthotics are custom-made functional insoles that fit inside most shoes, made from a plaster impression of the feet, held in the correct position. They are a non invasive method of ‘realigning’ the foot and lower limb to an optimal position and help improve posture. They effectively relieve pain and prevent further joint damage in the long term.

Temporary orthotic devices will often be prescribed prior to the issue of a custom made orthotic so that the foot is slowly re-aligned and changes are gradually introduced to the body.


  • Tracy Hopes

    Podiatrist (Biomechanics): Tracy Hopes studied Podiatry at the University of Brighton and

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