Podiatric biomechanics involves the assessment of the structure, alignment and function of the feet and legs. The foot is the only part of the human body which is unique to the human which is why we are able to walk upright. It has developed specifically so that it can adapt to the surface upon which we walk. In the early stages of our evolution, the terrain upon which we walked was varied and uneven and the foot has a complex set of joints and muscles which allow this process. However, we are now required to walk on hard, flat man-made surfaces subjecting the foot and legs to low-grade but repetitive movement.
The average person takes between 5,000 to 18,000 steps per day. This low-grade but repetitive motion can place stress on the foot, legs, pelvis and spine predisposing to pain and discomfort. If you have a low-arched (pronated) or high arched (supinated) foot then you may be more predisposed to problems. However, muscle inflexibility and weakness, footwear and activity levels can all affect function.
Detailed assessment of underlying structure and function can help to identify factors that may be causing or contributing to discomfort. The use of special shoe inserts (orthoses) can help to control the way in which the foot and therefore legs function and thus reduce discomfort. However, attention to shoes and muscle strength/flexibility can all improve function.