Posture and biomechanics
Biomechanics is a scientific physics-based recognition of how the body works during rest and motion. It provides a method of analysing the way a person runs, walks and sits, plus an intimate understanding of the altering bone, joint and muscle positions during these activities. This can help to identify how structural imperfections induce postural problems that can impact on the performance of everyday tasks.
To take a simple example, if the feet tend to roll inwards when walking, then the legs follow by internally rotating and absorbing the shock of heel strike. Conversely if the feet roll outwards, then the legs will externally rotate asking other body areas to absorb weight-bearing forces such as the lower back. These motions, while required in a normal person from time to time, lead to joint arthritis, overuse syndromes’ and pain if they occur too often or at the wrong time.
If the feet and legs are functioning abnormally, then both acute and chronic trauma will result in injuries to any one of the structures in the legs. In some cases, an abnormal walk can lead to postural problems in the upper body, causing back, shoulder or neck pain or even headaches.
In the case of developing children, structural imperfections recognised from an early age may help to reduce the chances of their suffering from the conditions experienced by previous generations. Intoeing, tippy toe walking, knock knees, bowed legs and flat feet are all normal and necessary developmental milestones for a growing child. However, if these milestones are delayed or, indeed, missed this can have long-term consequences.
The treatment of biomechanical problems is accomplished by first recognising postural and structural imperfections that are causing the body to compensate. Structural imperfections can be as subtle as a stiff big-toe joint inhibiting external leg rotation, leading to achy legs or lower back stiffness. Structural compensations affect the requirements of various muscles and soft tissues in the body. They may cause conditions such as: shin splints, sore feet, knees, hips or lower back, achy legs, arthritis and nerve and skin conditions.
Postural problems are often easily treated with first recognising and accommodating structural imperfections such as bowed legs and knocked knees. This is combined with a program of rehabilitation focusing on stretching and lengthening of specific muscles, the mobilisation and improved health of sore or stiff joints and proprioceptive (nerve) rehabilitation.