Biomechanics

To summarise biomechanics, human feet are comprised of 52 bones, 66 joints, 214 ligaments and 38 muscles and tendons, and a relatively small misalignment of that system may cause painful effects throughout the whole lower limb.

Biomechanics - Podiatry Northern Ireland - Caroline Spencer

Men and women who enjoy sports, if they are a professional or an amateur, can suffer more foot-related sports injuries. Running increases the pressure on the foot by three or four times your body weight. The twisting, jumping and physical collisions common in many sports place even greater stresses on the feet and biomechanical system. The cause of many sports injuries is a gradual or sudden change to the body’s biomechanics.

The problem is that the human foot was originally ‘designed’ to travel on soft, natural surfaces like earth and sand. Unfortunately, instead of soft earth, we now spend every day walking and standing on unnatural hard, flat surfaces like pavements and floors. These surfaces force our feet to roll over to gain ground contact and our arches to flatten. Rolling over of the foot or ‘Excessive Pronation’ is believed to affect over 50% of the population.

Interestingly, although the foot rolls inwards, often the shoe will wear excessively on the outside edge of the heel. This is because the foot normally ‘lands’ on the outside edge first and consequently rolls over causing excess pronation as a compensatory motion.

Just like the tyres on a car, poor alignment of the feet can cause wear and tear to other parts of the body. ‘Excessive Pronation’ often disrupts normal knee function and hip alignment and increases forces on the muscles in the lower back. Subsequently, ‘Excessive Pronation’ can cause a wide range of common complaints including knee pain and lower back pain.

The solution to this can often be an orthotic (custom-made shoe insert) for each individual to re-align the feet and ankles to their natural position and to correct body posture. In turn, the orthotics provides natural, lasting relief and comfort from many aches and pains.

For more information on the services of PodiatryNI at the Loughbrickland Clinic, 21 Scarva Street, BT32 3NH, call Caroline Spencer on 028 4062 2411 or contact us caroline.spencer@podiatryni.co.uk.