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Gait Analysis: Watching Your Stride

It may seem counterintuitive to say that your back or hip pain comes from your feet, but this is certainly a possibility. It’s important to remember that the various systems and body parts all work in conjunction with each other to keep you alive and moving. A gait analysis can be quite useful in showing that when your foot strikes the ground and rolls excessively, it also forces your knees, legs, and hip to rotate too much, which then creates that pain in your lower back. By understanding the root cause, we can address the basic issue.

Biomechanics Made Simple

When we talk about biomechanics, we are simply discussing the way your body moves when you perform some kind of action. Even living beings follow the laws of physics and certain engineering principals. Unlike machines that are built on assembly lines, though, there is considerably more variance among humans due to the fact that everyone’s body is unique and comes with its own idiosyncrasies. Some of these may cause issues when you move, and that’s where an expert podiatrist will come into play.

Gait Analysis Finds the Glitch in the System

Poor biomechanics can lead to injuries or painful conditions including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and iliotibial band syndrome, amongst others. Since your body is a composite of a variety of moving parts and systems, a problem in one area can lead to an issue in another. This means that the pain you experience in your back or knee can actually stem from a problem in how your feet perform. A common example of this can be seen when it comes to pronation.

Pronation is the natural rolling motion that your feet perform with every step they take. This biomechanical act is necessary to help your body absorb the shock of impact and allow bodyweight to be transferred to the forefoot from the heel. Individuals who have flat feet or fallen arches are likely to pronate excessively, or—with high arches—not nearly enough (supination). Overpronation can lead to a range of foot and ankle problems, but, as noted, can also cause issues in the knees, hip, and back. Supination brings its own problems, including a greater risk for stress fractures, shin splints, and ankle sprains.

Keeping Your Steps under a Watchful Eye

You know that something’s not right, but aren’t sure exactly what is causing the issue. Well, then it’s time to let the experts at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists use our expertise to help. We will perform a gait analysis for you and identify the root cause of your problem. When we do this, we focus on your feet and ankles as you walk on a treadmill. By paying close attention to the way you move, we can understand why you are experiencing that pain in the forefoot or heel area.

How to Treat Gait Issues

Understanding how your body actually moves will enable us to develop a treatment plan that will effectively take care of the pain or discomfort you are experiencing when you walk or run. Often, your condition can be relieved with the use of orthotics. These customized inserts are not the mass-produced ones found at a retail store, but are crafted specifically for you based on feet measurements and the way your feet move with every step.

If you live in the Austin or Round Rock, TX areas and experience unusual pain or discomfort when you run or walk, come in and see Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists today. Our experts will carefully conduct a gait analysis to identify any biomechanical abnormalities that may be leading to issues. This understanding will enable Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS or Dr. Shine John, DPM, FACFAS to create an effective treatment plan for you. Contact our Austin, TX office by calling (512) 328-8900, or use our online form to schedule an appointment.

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