The biomechanical examination is a critical part of the evaluation for functional foot orthotics. Assessment includes muscle strength, range-of-motion at important joints, and the angular relationships of segments of the foot and leg. This information is considered when prescribing an orthotic appropriate to the patient’s needs.
Limitation on ankle extension may result from tight calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and Soleus)
Evaluation of the rear-foot, includes motion at the sub-talar joint, and its angular relationship to the lower leg.
Motion at the great-toe joint (first metatarsal-phalangeal joint) is critical for the forward progression of the body during gait. A lack of motion here can cause early arthritis in the joint, and even lower back pain!
The biomechanical evaluation includes an evaluation of foot, leg and body position while weight-bearing.
Finally, plaster splints are applied to the feet.
The feet are held in neutral position. Improper casting technique and biomechanical assessment are leading causes of treatment failure and/or the inability to tolerate orthotics devices. Proper functional orthotics can not be made from foam impressions, foot-prints, etc.
Here the casts are dry and ready to be removed.
A short time later, VOILA! a finished functional foot orthotic (one of a pair).