A biomechanical assessment is when we examine the way your lower limbs work, checking for abnormalities and possible causes of pain in the foot, ankle, knee and back.
Why might I need a biomechanical assessment?
Very few people are completely symmetrical and this affects the way they stand and move. They may also have additional problems including particularly high or low arches in the feet, one leg longer than the other, or a sports injury. In some cases, people adapt to abnormalities without any problems; however, for other people they can cause pain as the joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons are put under extra stress when they move.
Once we have identified the problems that are causing you pain, we can advise an orthotics and make you insoles as well as suggest exercises to improve strength and flexibility.
What does the test involve?
The test can take up to 30 minutes and you will need to wear pants that can roll up or shorts so that we can see your knees and lower limbs as you move. The examination is divided into three sections:
- A static assessment during which we will take various measurements while you stand up and lie down.
- A dynamic assessment during which we will video you as you so we can analyze your gait (the way you move).
- An evaluation of your most commonly worn footwear. Looking at the wear pattern of the shoe, as well as the overall fit is a vital part of the biomechanical assessment
Many people think gait analysis is all about—and only about—someone watching you walk or run and evaluating your feet and your shoes. How many of you have done the following? A clerk in your local running store watches you jog, and suggests a pair of shoes that are more stable, or more neutral, or more cushioned, or are the type that “forces” you to land mid-foot. Voila! Your biomechanical problems are solved. This is what most people know and have come to accept as gait analysis.
Let’s examine the most common misconceptions about gait analysis, and create a real picture of what it is, what it isn’t, and how it can be helpful to you as an athlete. True gait analysis is not a generic exercise, but is a scientifically-based and technically-precise process. It is highly individualized, and reveals a lot about how you will hold up to training and, ultimately, perform.
How do we analyze your Gait?
When we conduct a gait analysis, your feet are only one small piece of your biomechanical puzzle. What happens to your feet is merely part of a holistic, whole body, integrated movement pattern. Running, like most other whole-body activities (such as swimming or many field sports), is essentially a unique way of moving.
When you are analyzed statically, dynamically, and then running on the treadmill during a gait analysis, it serves to provide a unique, personal movement “map.” That “map” reveals the programming of everything happening within your body—from kinestetic awareness and habit, to individual levels of mobility, stability, flexibility, and functional strength. The analysis of all these different elements taken together is what creates a complete picture of your gait. In essence, it is far more than just gait analysis. It is true “movement” analysis.