Definition & Overview
Biomechanics assessment is the process of analysing the way a person walks and their posture. It is performed to determine abnormalities and identify how the body compensates for these.
Among those who can benefit from the analysis include those with:
- Lower back, Hip, Knee & Foot pain
- Physical anomalies that affect movements, such as having one leg shorter than the other
- Injuries sustained from sports or accidents
- Prolonged strain on the limbs due to excess weight leading to irregular gait and posture
The goal of a biomechanics assessment is to determine the cause of specific abnormalities and present ways to correct or completely eliminate the issues arising from such irregularities.
Who Should Undergo assessment and Expect Results
- Individuals suffering from various pains in the lower limbs such as pain in the heel, arch pain, and Achilles tendon as well as foot, knee, and back pain. These assessments are particularly helpful for painful conditions with no apparent causes.
- Athletes who had sports-related injuries, in which the biomechanics assessment can help establish the proper rehabilitation program to promote healing of injuries.
- Those born with genetic flat feet or high arches or those with a collapsed arch. These conditions often cause pain and discomfort due to the improper distribution of weight and unstable posture. An individual with flat feet is also likely to develop deformities like bunions and hammer toes. Children with these conditions can benefit from early intervention to avoid misalignment and correct posture deficiencies as they grow to adulthood.
The results of the biomechanical assessment will take into consideration several factors. These include the patient’s age, range of motion, occupation or sports engaged in, postural alignment, and even genetic predisposition to certain physical anomalies or deformities. The results will be able to indicate the source of pain or the cause of any limb-related injury. Those suffering from foot pain can also use the results of the assessment to have foot orthoses customised according to their needs.
How is the Procedure Performed?
Before the actual assessment, patients are asked about their medical history and the symptoms they have been experiencing. Biomechanics assessment is performed in the clinic where your podiatrist can monitor and record how you walk and run.
The assessment is divided into two parts. The first one is the static part in which the specialist assesses lower limb posture and takes measurements while the patient is standing up or lying down. This part of the procedure also includes examining the bones of the foot, patterns of calluses, functions of the big toe, and integrity of joints. The second part is the dynamic part, in which your gait is analysed. Patients are asked to walk or run and the pattern of the gait is evaluated. Patients are asked to wear a pair of shorts so the movements of the legs and feet are visible and easily recorded.
Once the analysis is completed your practitioner will work with you to put a plan in place if any abnormalities are found. These usually consist of strengthening/stretching exercises, acupuncture treatment, prescription of orthotics or a combination of the above.