Biomechanical Foot Problems [Mechanical engineering]

Biomechanical Foot Problems

Foot Function

Podiatric biomechanics is a specialism concerned with foot function and locomotion. It encompasses foot development, and aims to preserve and/or restore the function of the foot and its associated structures.

The foot is an intricate and mechanically complex structure made up of 26 major bones, associated joints and soft tissue structures. The efficiency with which the foot functions when walking depends on the way in which these bones and joints move in relation to each other. Efficient and pain-free function also depends heavily on the foot"s angle to the leg and to the ground. If things do not work well in any of these areas, painful problems may result.

Biomechanics refers to the analysis of the foot and leg function and the diagnosis of any functional problems or abnormalities.

What problems can occur?

Aching feet and painful lower limb problems don"t have to be endured. The cause of such problems is often due to the misalignment of the joints and resulting soft tissue stresses in the leg or foot. This can lead to common problems, such as:

  • Aching and over-tired feet
  • Ankle sprains and weaknesses
  • Over pronation (collapsing of arch)
  • Sports related overuse injuries
  • Bunions
  • Corns and callouses
  • Painful toe nails

But, the pain caused by these misalignments is not always restricted to the feet. Because our feet take the strain of our daily activities, every step impacts directly upwards through the body. This means that stress and pain may be experienced in the joint of the following areas:

  • Feet
  • Hips
  • Neck
  • Knees
  • Back

All of these parts of the body are connected to the feet via the skeleton. Effects may show as pain, instability, restricted movement or, in some cases, just fatigue.

How does the foot function?

The foot is an impressive architectural and functional design, able to act as both a flexible supportive base and a rigid lever. It is expected to work efficiently under excessive loads and demands, often in extreme conditions imposed on it by footwear and the environment in which it has to work. However, this complex structure"s function depends heavily on having its correct functional angles and joint movements maintained.

In walking or running, the foot needs to be flexible enough to absorb the shock of hitting the ground. It also has to be firm enough not to collapse as the body's weight moves over it with each and every step. It is no surprise that sometimes when things start to go wrong with the foot function, pain or disability results. In most cases, it is not until heavy or unusual demands are made on the feet by work, sport, injury, or simply by the passage of time, that potential weaknesses are revealed.

What is a biomechanical examination?

A biomechanical examination involves taking a series of measurements of the feet and legs with the patient standing and lying down and may include checking joint movements and assessing muscle strength and flexibility. It will often include watching the patient walk to assess the way in which the foot works. The examination...

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What problems does a five foot man have?

You probably wouldn't be a eligible for basketball, or roller coaster rides.

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