Many foot and lower limb symptoms are a result of injuries caused my muscle imbalances resulting in repetitive trauma, overuse or overloading to anatomical structures within the feet. Podiatrists are specifically trained to perform a detailed assessment using video or visual gait analysis in order to identify insufficiencies in muscle or joint function. Based on this assessment they will often prescribe stretches and/or strengthening rehabilitation exercises, strapping or taping, foot orthotics, footwear advice or footwear modifications. The earlier these issues are addressed the better the outcome in performance and function and preventing long-term structural changes such as bunions and arthritis. Many people do not realize that gait dysfunction affects the overall posture of the body and can therefore be contributing to other symptoms such as knee, hip and back pain.
Gait analysis plays a huge role in our diagnosis and management of conditions as well as prescription of our orthotics. It allows us to view problems with the feet and ankles, but also the affect that has on the whole leg and hip mechanics. For this reason, we often have referrals from Physio’s and Chiropractors so we can assess how someone’s walking can be contributing to symptoms further up the body!
Children in particular will often present with problems in gait, such as in-toeing/out-toeing, toe walking or flat footedness. Due to the complex needs of children’s feet as their bones, joints, muscles and tendons are developing it is important to have them professionally assessed if you have any concerns.