Podiatry is the specific branch of medicine that is dedicated to the foot and lower limb and biomechanics is a huge part of that. In simple terms, biomechanics in podiatry is the way that the muscles, the bones, and the joints of the foot and the lower limb interact with each other and move. There are different things that podiatrists look at here but they focus specifically on absorption (the impact of placing your foot on the ground) and propulsion (required for walking and running).
There are a variety of ways to improve any foot pain you may be having during exercise or sports through biomechanics podiatry. For example, a podiatrist may want to do a treadmill gait analysis in which he or she can see how you run and whether your pronation (or how your foot absorbs the shock of the run) is normal pronation, overpronation, or underpronation. This can show you how to adjust your gait to avoid injuries as well as help your podiatrist to develop a strengthening program to fit your specific needs.
There are so many bones, tendons, and muscles in the foot that offer themselves up for injury. Load management (or how much weight your foot is bearing as well as how that foot bears it) is one thing to consider and so is range of motion. One way to improve your range of motion is manual mobilisation, which gently manipulates your joints with specific controlled movements, allowing you to restore full range of motion and function to your feet.
Diabetes Foot Health
Another place that biomechanics can help in podiatry is when it comes to patients with diabetes. Diabetes affects the entire body and can have a huge impact on your feet due to nerve damage, blood circulation, and the risk of infection. The most helpful methods here are preventative measures such as daily foot checks for swelling, ulcers, redness, blisters, broken skin, or ingrown nails. Another thing you can do is get a professional assessment, allowing you to have access to regular care that can prevent nerve damage and other complications. A diabetes foot assessment allows the podiatrist to see the current status of the feet, which he or she can then take into consideration and develop short- and long-term strategies to manage your foot health overall.
Overall, biomechanics is incredibly important when it comes to foot health as it is really the basis of how a person’s foot or lower limb moves and functions. There is a lot to consider when it comes to biomechanics, from absorption to pronation to propulsion, and podiatrists are now able to develop treatments for injuries and overall health as more information is being discovered. Biomechanics can be used both to prevent injury and restore movement and function after injury, all with the help of a good podiatrist who can create treatment plans based around the patient. Ultimately, biomechanics in podiatry allows podiatrists to offer the highest quality in care for patients.