The human frame provides strength, stability, support and protection. It allows for mobility when interacting with the muscular, connective and neurological systems, allowing us to experience walking, running, dancing and countless other movement patterns.
Its rigidity protects our internal organs and brain/nervous system from outside forces, whilst simultaneously producing life-giving blood cells.
Given the value the human frame provides to everyday functional needs, shouldn’t structure and biomechanical health be at the forefront of our clinical assessments?
Newton’s Laws of Motion and of Gravity have helped us to understand the natural forces impacting the human frame every minute of every day we are on Earth.
Newton’s 3rd law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So forces applied to the body must result in an effect of some kind.
Newton then theorised on gravity as the attractive force between two masses. Although the study of planetary bodies was his initial aim, the impact of terrestrial gravity on humans quickly followed.
Ligaments hold the bones of the skeletal system in their proper positions and have support from the muscles and tendonous attachments.
It is these soft tissue attachments that undergo the greatest stress from Newton’s findings.
The impact of gravity illustrated here is effecting the entire frame. As the foot falls in deep, rapid over-pronation, the tibia & fibula rotate internally creating excessive knee joint stress, the Q-angle increases as the leg moves into a valgus posture, leading to femoral-acetabular tension and unilateral pelvic flexion and rotation.
The thorax responds by rotating in an equal but opposite direction creating a functional scoliosis and un-leveling of the shoulder girdle.
This structural impact is catastrophic in both short-term and long-term prognoses if left untreated.
The importance of foot posture specifically is often overlooked in regards to full body function, yet postural abnormalities are significant factors in neuromusculoskeletal health and physical performance.
Front and Side
Overpronation of a foot arch creates these secondary dysfunctions above, such as knock-kneed posture, hyper-lordosis and compensatory forward head translation.
This opens the possibility that patients complaining of knee pain, lumbar disc symptoms or even headaches may actually be displaying secondary symptoms from a primary biomechanical foot problem.
Of course, many patients will present with primary knee, lumbar or neck conditions that are unrelated to the feet.
However, the integrated connection of the the human frame from toes to crown, validates including foot biomechanical fault as a differential diagnosis for these patients.
We suggest that the addition of gait analysis and closed-chain biomechanical foot assessment when added to your routine physical examination will quickly and effectively identify these patients.
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