Biomechanics: You’re All Connected
Do you remember Mouse Trap or The Incredible Machine? These games used elaborate setups to accomplish simple goals. Hit the ball to knock over the dominos to turn on the fan to blow the paper boat over to the microwave and… you get the picture. We’re lucky that nature is much less eclectic when it comes to its ways, but they’re no less impressive. Biomechanics is the way our body moves, and a problem in one spot can lead to discomfort in others.
The act of walking does not take a lot of thought, but there is still plenty going on. Let’s start the cycle when a foot is in the air. As it comes down, it enters the phase of walking known as heel strike. The foot begins to roll inward some as the inner arch flattens. This motion allows the foot to better absorb shock and adapt to whatever terrain might lie beneath it.
Mid-stance, the second phase, begins when the foot is fully against the ground. The weight of the body rests directly over the foot. Body weight now begins to shift forward, providing momentum. Once this begins, the foot starts to “un-flatten” to prepare for the next phase.
Finally, heel lift begins with the foot rolling outward and the inner arch of the foot rises. The foot becomes a lever at this point, using its bones, muscles, and thick tissue known as the plantar fascia to push off.
The biomechanics of walking involves much transfer of force and weight. If your gait is askew—the foot rolling inward or outward too much, for example, the abnormality in these forces can cause problems. This isn’t only true in the feet (think plantar fasciitis), but can also run through all the connections of our muscles and bones to result in ankle, knee, hip, and lower back problems as well.
If you have had persistent pain in your feet or lower legs, it might be due to a problem in your biomechanics. Dr. Timothy Barry and the staff of Family Foot & Ankle Care of Jasper can get to the source of the trouble. Simply call our office at (812) 481-7200 or use our online contact form to reach us.