The main job of the many bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons of the foot is to get you where you want to go. When you take a step, and most of us do this without really thinking about it, the heel touches the ground and absorbs some of the force. The muscles in the sole of the foot then give way, and the band of tissue beneath (plantar fascia) stretches out. Next, your weight shifts to the ball of the foot, and finally the toes push off the surface. Your weight is now fully on the foot, and you start the process again with the other foot. You can do several things to keep your feet operating as they should: A) Wear shoes that fit properly, have plenty of room in the toe box, and have low heels; B) Maintain a healthy body weight; and C) go for walks regularly to keep the foot muscles strong and flexible. If you experience any problems walking, it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist for a thorough examination.
Biomechanics in Podiatry
Podiatric biomechanics is a particular sector of specialty podiatry with licensed practitioners who are trained to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and lower leg. Biomechanics deals with the forces that act against the body, causing an interference with the biological structures. It focuses on the movement of the ankle, the foot and the forces that interact with them.
A History of Biomechanics
- Biomechanics dates back to the BC era in Egypt where evidence of professional foot care has been recorded.
- In 1974, biomechanics gained a higher profile from the studies of Merton Root, who claimed that by changing or controlling the forces between the ankle and the foot, corrections or conditions could be implemented to gain strength and coordination in the area.
Modern technological improvements are based on past theories and therapeutic processes that provide a better understanding of podiatric concepts for biomechanics. Computers can provide accurate information about the forces and patterns of the feet and lower legs.
Understanding biomechanics of the feet can help improve and eliminate pain, stopping further stress to the foot.