Biomechanics / Orthotics

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Biomechanics is a branch of podiatry that focuses on musculoskeletal conditions that may affect the feet, knees, hips or lower back.  Conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, or Morton's neuroma may be the result of poor biomechanics.  Even a simple corn can be caused by faulty biomechanics.  It's a mixture of biology and physics.  The biology looks at the particular structure that may be injured, while the physics the mechanical side, looking at the forces acting upon the body.

Let’s explain what we mean by force. Injuries to soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, tendons), bone or nerves will usually be caused by a disturbance to normal healthy tissue from 4 different types of force - tension, bending, compression and torsion. Identifying the injured structure is important and then finding out what the cause of the stress is will be part of a biomechanical assessment. An example of this is when a ‘compression force’ from tight footwear may cause a Morton's Neuroma (a painful inflammation of the nerve branches that run between the metatarsals). ‘Tension force’ may arise where groups of muscles have a reduced range of motion. This may affects a person’s walking or running, and can lead to tendon injuries. 

Once the assessment has established the structure and cause a treatment plan will then be designed with the aim to reduce the force and restore normal function. There are a number of treatments which a biomechanical podiatrist might use such as prescription or non-prescription orthoses. Other treatments include flexibility or strengthening exercises (including core strength), R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation).  It could even be as simple as footwear advice if the clinician believes footwear is contributing to the condition. And, of course, it could be a combination of all these treatment modalities.


Functional Orthoses are types of insoles which are designed to improve the function of the feet. For example an over-pronated foot, which rolls inward too much, can cause a torsional stress on the Achilles tendon or the plantar fascia and subsequence pain.  An orthotic insole will aim to reduce this inward movement, restore normal function to the feet and reduce the stress placed on these structures.  Functional orthoses are only prescribed by a qualified health professional such as a podiatrist or a physiotherapist.  

There will also be occasions when a podiatrist will refer a patient to a different health professional such as a physiotherapist or a massage therapist.  Additionally, imaging may sometimes be required and may involve the recommendation of X-Ray or Ultrasound through a patient's GP.

Of course if you feel you may have faulty biomechanics, we would happily carry out an assessment and give an honest evaluation. Flat feet are usually easy to spot but high arched feet are less obvious and can lead to similar problems that are associated with flat feet. Additionally, if you are concerned about your child a biomechanical assessment can be carried out.  Here at the Foot Health Centre we would only ever issue orthoses if we feel they are required.

Biomechanical Assessment
45 - 60 Minutes
Orthotic Insoles
From £12