To be able to accurately diagnose any conditions you may have, a podiatrist needs to understand how your feet and lower limbs work.
To do this, they will conduct what is called a biomechanical assessment.
What is a biomechanical assessment?
A biomechanical assessment involves a thorough and comprehensive assessment into the way in which your body works and can provide clues as to why you are experiencing different types of pain. Our podiatrists are highly skilled in looking at the body as a whole, rather than just the feet themselves. Our bodies work as a unit and if one link in the chain of motion isn’t working properly, it can affect the rest of the body in a number of ways.
Biomechanical assessments involve a range of different assessment methods that aim to identify any areas of weakness from the lower back all the way down to the feet. We often have patients ask why we are assessing their hips or looking at their knee position, but it is all related!
What is involved during a biomechanical assessment?
Typically, we will begin your biomechanical assessment by taking a thorough history of your pain or injury.
Often, this will provide clues to your pain and help us to identify any specific tests that we need to conduct in order to reach a diagnosis and develop a management plan for you. Questions may include:
- When did your pain start?
- Was there a specific incident that caused your pain or did it gradually appear over time?
- What does the pain feel like?
- When does it hurt/do any activities make the pain worse?
- Have you experienced this pain before?
Following this, we will begin assessing different parts of the body.
This often begins with testing the range of motion of the joints within the foot and ankle first, as well as looking at the range of motion within the knees and the hips if we suspect that they may also be part of the problem.
Restrictions or hypermobility within any of the joints can change the way in which the surrounding joints move as well. Next, we will test your muscle strength to identify any weaknesses or differences between the left and the right limbs. If a particular muscle or muscle group is not doing their job, other muscles must pick up the slack and work harder which can potentially contribute to or cause your pain.
Next, we will perform static or standing assessments. We assess the alignment of the hips, knees, ankles and feet when you’re standing to see how your body supports you from the ground up. Strength, flexibility and balance tests are also performed to identify any areas of weakness or highlight any compensations that are made by your body. This will also show us how your body works when performing different activities.
Gait assessments are then performed to assess how your body moves when you walk and/or run.
Again, we are looking at how the body moves as a whole and what areas need to be supported and addressed with a rehabilitation program.
Here at Watsonia Podiatry, we perform our gait assessments on the Zebris treadmill, which enables us to not only record how you are walking, but it can also show us exactly where the pressure moves through your feet.
Everyone will move slightly differently, and it is important to understand exactly how you move so that we can tailor a rehabilitation program that is specific for you.
The results of your biomechanical assessment will be explained to you in detail during your consultation, along with identifying both your goals and ours in terms of helping you to become pain free.
If we identify that there are other aspects of your rehabilitation that are best suited to other health professionals such as a physiotherapist or osteopath, we have an extensive referral network that we are able to tap into to help get you back to doing the things you love!
Biomechanical assessments in Melbourne
If you’re located in Melbourne’s North East suburbs and you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in your feet and/or lower limbs, book a consultation with one of our expert podiatrists here at Watsonia Podiatry. Our services are available to people of all ages and our experienced podiatrists can have you on the road to recovery fast.