By: Jess Champion
When one of our staff starts talking about “biomechanics,” we often see people’s faces transition to blank stares. It may sound super fancy, but biomechanics literally means the study of all the working parts of a “machine”; in this case, the human body. The study of mechanics is instrumental in finding the root cause of individuals’ pain. Have you every had physical therapy treatment for a hip, low back, or knee and it seemed to work for a while, but the pain eventually came back? Well, if poor mechanics are causing you to overcompensate, be overly tight, or causing malalignments, then your pain will return.
Think about your car. If your car alignment is off, the tires wear unevenly, right? Okay, so let’s put new tires on. Looks good for a while, but soon enough, you’ll be back in the car shop with tires that are worn unevenly. No matter how many new sets of tires, until you fix the alignment, the problem will persist.
Thanks to the understanding of biomechanics, we now can determine if the pain in your hip, knee, back, etc, is being caused by an improper gait, or due to faulty foot function. A gait analysis is one of the first steps in assessing your biomechanics and can be done walking or running. It will then be determined if you need different shoes, or possibly some corrective foot orthotics. Once your alignment and movement sequences are corrected, there is no reason that with Active Isolated Stretching, manual therapy, and corrective hip and core strengthening, your symptoms won’t resolve and stay away, allowing you to stay injury free!
At TSM, our foot orthotics are not accommodative orthotics, meaning they don’t just provide extra cushion. They are corrective orthotics, which allow your feet to pronate* and supinate** properly. One option is custom in-house orthotics that are made in the office during your appointment. Another option is our custom casted orthotics, which are casted to your feet using plaster while you are sitting on the end of a table. While the therapist puts your foot in a neutral position, the plaster is wrapped around your foot and makes a hard mold. This allows the laboratory to fabricate an insole specific to your foot structure. Your body’s job is to transfer and absorb forces and shock waves. The inability to handle these stressors causes injuries. You don’t have to hurt! You just need a professional to help you figure it out.
*pronate-turn to face downward
**supinate-turn to face upward