What does the term “Biomechanics” mean ?
The Kirkintilloch Foot Clinic is a Biomechanical Assessment and Orthotic Centre. This means that we specialise in finding the cause of painful symptoms, correcting the cause and therefore removing the symptoms.
Biomechanics is a medical science that studies the mechanical functioning of the human body including locomotion. Research has identified many Biomechanical problems attributed to the foot, and if allowed to go unchecked, symptoms such as foot pain, ankle pain, leg cramps, knee pain, hip pain and low back pain are common.
“The Foot bone’s connected to the Ankle bone...”
The foot is a very complicated structure. It consists of 26 bones with many muscles and ligament attachments.
The foot is attached to the leg at the ankle joint.
The leg is attached to the thigh at the knee joint.
The thigh is attached to the hip at the hip joint.
The hip is attached to the pelvis.
The pelvis is attached to the back.
The back is attached to the neck.
The neck is attached to the head.
This bony formation constitutes the skeletal frame. The various types of joints, ligaments and muscles found in the skeleton provide the mechanical means by which we move.
The ligaments bind joints tightly together and limit excessive movement. The muscles, which are generally attached from one bone to another bone, contract and relax to provide movement of the skeleton as in walking, running, sitting or standing. All joints of the body move in certain directions only. The anatomical shape of the joint and the function it has to provide, determines the degree of motion necessary to complete that function. If a joint function is restricted or is excessive, for whatever reason, then the over stretching of the ligaments which bind them together, and the force of the pull of muscles on that joint, can cause wear and tear and degenerative changes, i.e. osteoarthritis, to occur. This is the principle of Biomechanics.
The feet are the foundation of the body. It therefore follows that if any joint of the foot is misaligned, or if ligament or muscle function is inadequate, then by virtue of the foot’s direct attachment to the ankle and its indirect attachment to the other joints, i.e. knee, hip, back, neck and head, it can have a profound effect on these joints. This can result in aches and pains, wear and tear, and osteoarthritis developing.
Similarly, problems associated with the pelvis, hip, thigh, knee or bones of the lower leg, can adversely affect the normal function of the foot. For example: an abnormal position of the thighbone onto the hip, with the corresponding abnormal angle of attachment at the knee, may cause the kneecap to dislocate easily.
Bow legs or knock knees force the foot to rotate inwards, because of their misalignment onto the ankle joint. This adds further abnormal pressures on the affected joints, which again results in wear and tear and osteoarthritis within the joints.
There is a known hereditary aspect to the problems that affect the foot and lower limbs, and most misalignments and abnormalities are detectable at an early age. Small children, for example, initially walk on tiptoe with their arms in the air. A short time later, as confidence increases, they learn heel to toe contact. At this time the child’s foot appears to be flat with the foot turned inwards. This can be a cause of concern to parents, but it is quite normal and gradually corrects itself by the age of 9. Some children may be slightly slower in this correction and it may not fully correct until the age of 14.
Unfortunately there are millions of people who do not fully correct, and they develop conditions such as Corns and Callous on the soles of their feet and between their toes, Bunions, Foot pain, Ankle pain, Knee pain, Hip pain and Back pain. These people, at a later date, are then told they have “wear and tear”, “degenerative changes within the joints” or “arthritis”. Well they probably have at this stage, because they have continued through life unaware they have a condition that can be corrected through the Biomechanical network, with what is known as Orthotic Therapy.
All of the above can be symptoms of a Biomechanical problem. Some individuals may also suffer from shoulder pain, neck stiffness and headaches (Migraine) as a result of a Biomechanical malfunction.
What can be done to help?
Here at the Kirkintilloch Foot Clinic, a Biomechanical assessment can be undertaken to identify many problems, and through the Biomechanical network, symptoms such as those already mentioned may be eradicated. During this examination the ranges of motion of the joints of the foot and leg are determined.
Consideration is given to standing and walking and sporting activities, as well as type of employment and style of shoes worn. A diagnosis is made and Orthotics may be prescribed.
Most people on viewing Orthotics refer to them as arch supports. They may be similar in appearance to arch supports, but here is where the similarity ends. Orthotics are prescription made devices which maintain the structural alignment of the bones of the foot and leg. On wearing Orthotics, normal motion is controlled, which can result in a decrease, if not a complete elimination, of foot and leg problems. Impressions of the feet are taken and sent to the laboratory, where the Orthotics are manufactured to the individual’s prescription.
Our Orthotics are made from a substance that has 100% memory. They are flexible, but strong enough to maintain the prescription under the shearing forces of the body. The shells of the Orthotics are guaranteed for life. In certain circumstances we can make them just 2 mm thick, so they may be worn in fashionable shoes.
Orthotics purchased “off the shelf” i.e. from chemists, or newspaper or magazine adverts, do not contain the prescription necessary for individual needs, and in most cases, do not relieve the symptoms as promised.
If you think you may have a Biomechanical problem please speak to the practitioners at the Kirkintilloch Foot Clinic.
Kirkintilloch foot clinic
Biomechanical Assessment and Orthotic Centre