A musculoskeletal assessment involves an examination of the lower limbs, looking at their structure, alignment, muscle strengths and weaknesses. It is a combination of biomechanical assessment, gait analysis and other clinical assessments based on your presentation and symptoms.
Biomechanical assessments and orthotics
A biomechanical assessment involves an examination of the lower limbs, looking at their structure, alignment, muscle strengths and weaknesses.
The foot is a complex structure of 28 different bones, 214 ligaments and 38 muscles, that must work together synergistically to allow us to walk and run.
The examination is not focused solely on the foot but includes careful observation of the pelvis, legs and knees during gait (walking) as well as assessing the relationship between them. It is important to examine the lower limbs as a whole because they are closely connected and pain in one area can be due to a weakness or structural problem in another area.
The assessment itself is made up of 3 parts. A thorough medical history, an on-couch examination where you will need to lie on your front and back and a walking examination. We are now using the brilliant RSScan Footscan pressure mat.
From these three aspects of examination, your podiatrist will be able to identify the range and quality of motion through your lower limb joints and muscles and identify any structural or functional issues surrounding your lower limb mechanics.
Treatment plans and orthotics (including sports orthotics)
Your podiatrist will be able to prescribe an individual treatment plan including a range of exercises, stretches and manufacture some insoles (orthotic devices) which you can place in your shoes to correct the particular issue identified. The type and style of orthotic depends on an individual’s needs.
It is usually good practice to try a simple handmade or ‘chair side’ orthotic to enable the podiatrist to ‘fine tune’ the correction.
Once a perfect prescription has been identified, more permanent orthotics (Phits 3D printed or made from carbon fibre or a range of plastics) can be manufactured in laboratories. These cost significantly more, however they have a prolonged duration along with a manufacturer’s guarantee.