In today’s post we will discuss one of our favourite topics: biomechanical assessments, also known as gait assessments. We will talk about what they are, who may benefit from taking one, and what exactly happens during it.
What is a biomechanical assessment?
A lower limb biomechanical assessment is an examination of the structure, alignment, strengths and weaknesses of the lower limbs.
Who would benefit from a biomechanical assessment?
A biomechanical assessment is beneficial if you are experiencing pain in the lower limbs and feet. If you have any structural deformities causing pain such as bunions, toe deformities, high or low arches. If you have previously had an injury to the lower limb.
During a biomechanical assessment we will:
Start off with a history take when we will ask questions and discuss your current symptoms. This includes the history of the pain, duration, triggers and pain levels.
- Assess how you stand
- Assess how you walk (gait analysis)
- Check the range of motion of the joints such as the hip, knee, ankle and foot joints
- Check muscle function and check for any muscle tightness which may affect foot biomechanics
- Assess foot posture
- Check for any differences in limb length
- Check your current footwear
Based on the results from the biomechanical assessment the podiatrists may recommend a treatment plan. This may include one or more of the following:
- Custom foot orthotics: orthotics are some inserts which additions to help correct any biomechanical issues. Orthotic prescription includes taking a 3D scan of both of the feet. This ensures that the prescription is accurate and is also less invasive that taking mounds of the foot. The 3D scan is then used to create a custom foot orthotic.
- Stretching/strengthening programme: if there are any muscle tightness or weakness to muscles which is affecting the foot biomechanics, a programme will be recommended to the patient to complete daily to help correct this problem
- Footwear advice: this include recommendation of certain types/brands of footwear to suit your particular foot type and problem.
- If deemed necessary, the podiatrist may reccommend you visit your GP for a referral for imaging for further investigation such as an x-ray, MRI or an ultrasound.
Biomechanical assessments usually take about 30 minutes in total and can be finished by taking a 3D scan of your feet if orthotics are required.
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