Biomechanical Conditions at the Root of Your Pain
Biomechanics refers to an understanding of body structure and how it moves. There are many moving parts that allow us to live our lives, but some of the more interesting structures are found in the lower limbs. The foot and ankle structures are comprised of many bones and soft tissues that work together to provide both stability and mobility. When biomechanical problems of the foot conditions affect the intended functions of these structures, they can create some big problems.
Gait is a term used to refer to the biomechanical processes the body uses while walking. Everyone’s gait is a bit unique, but all humans have the same five goals while walking —even if they are unaware of this:
- Move the body forward with a controlled speed to a desired location.
- Use the least amount of energy as possible.
- Cause the least amount of pain as possible.
- Disperse the shock of force on the body when the foot lands.
- Use the foot as a rigid lever to provide a means of propelling the body forward.
Within the actual gait itself, there are two distinct phases – the stance phase and the swing phase. The stance phase constitutes the time the foot spends on the ground during a step. The swing phase, naturally, is then the period during which the foot is in the air. The stance phase can be further broken down into five stages: heel strike, early flatfoot, late flatfoot, heel rise, and toe off.
How Biomechanical Conditions Affect Feet
As the body tries to achieve the five goals, the “domino effect” can sometimes lead to issues. A common example of this pertains to Goal 3 (“cause the least amount of pain possible”).
When a part of the foot is in pain, a person will typically adjust his or her gait to keep weight off of it. This means that an issue on the inside edge of the foot could lead to an individual then walking on the outside of the foot. This means that the outside is now receiving more force than usual with every step. In turn, this excess force could lead to the development of a new issue.
Examples of Biomechanical Problems
Bunions might have a common association with high heel shoes, but this condition can be caused by faulty biomechanics. When excessive pressure is placed on the inside edge of the forefoot, perhaps as a result of overpronation, it can cause misalignment between the big toe bone and the corresponding metatarsal bone.
Plantar fasciitis results in sharp, stabbing heel pain and can be attributed to faulty foot mechanics, such as abnormal pronation or even an irregular gait.
Morton’s neuroma can be due to mechanics when it stems from foot deformities like hammertoes, arch abnormalities, and bunions.
Gait Analysis and Treatment
If faulty biomechanics are causing your foot and ankle issues, we may start assessing the situation by performing a gait analysis. Gait analysis is quite useful for podiatrists as it allows us to watch your foot and ankle while in use and determine where the problems lie.
One of the best tools that a podiatrist can use to treat gait issues is custom orthotics. Too many people think of orthotics as the shoe inserts found in retail stores, but those should only be used for cushioning or to provide extra arch support. Custom orthotics are devices that are prescribed to treat a medical condition, especially one that affects biomechanical processes.
Unlike mass-produced inserts found at stores, orthotic devices are customized according to your unique feet and gait patterns. This allows us to correct any biomechanical abnormalities that would lead to pain or problems.
Treating Biomechanical Conditions Manalapan, NJ
When faulty biomechanics lead to issues or cause pain, A Step Up Podiatry, LLC is ready to help. We can provide a gait analysis to identify the root cause of the problem and then create an effective treatment plan for you. Contact our Manalapan, NJ podiatrist today by calling (732) 446-7136 or schedule your appointment with us online.
Other Biomechanical Conditions Include:
- Normal Foot Anatomy
- Bunions/hallux Abductovalgus
- Hallux Limitus/Rigidus
- Tarsal Coalition
- Shin Splints
- Haglund’s Deformity
- In-toe gait
- Flatfoot/PTTD (posterior tibial tendon dysfunction)
- Achilles Tendon
- Heel spur/Plantar fasciitis
- Ankle Sprains
- Tarsal Tunnel