Many bone, joint, muscle and tendon tendon overuse injuries have a biomechanical component. Poor or faulty biomechanical movement patterns may predispose to injury for many reasons. These include the way your bones are structured, joints are aligned, or the control of your skeleton moving by the timing, activation and strength of your muscles, or perhaps simply due to habit. For example, a common biomechanical movement pattern in the leg is the foot and knee collapses inwards when you put weight on it during walking, running and landing from a jump. Collapsing of the knee inwards can be caused by muscle weakness at the hip, foot posture issues, muscle tightness at the ankle, and many, many other factors. This can lead to concentration of stress and injury to musculoskeletal tissues in the outside of the hip, and inside of the knee and ankle, as well as other sites.
Improving biomechanical movement patterns and reducing stress concentration in your musculoskeletal system is sometimes possible with the right corrective exercise. Other times the muscles can be assisted by orthotic devices or insoles. Orthotics are worn in your shoes and can change individual joint movement at the foot and ankle as well as overall movement pattern in your leg (see figure, orthotics worn on right side image) and this will change the way your tissues are being stressed when under load. Orthotics can also reduce compression of joints and tendons. Another potential effect of orthotics is that they change the muscle activation by allowing muscles to work in a more optimal range.
All these potential benefits are positive, but there are a couple of warnings. The crucial part is that you ONLY get orthotics if you need them, and you get the RIGHT ones for your individual biomechanical and movement issues. Before prescribing orthotics we will assess your movement patterns, biomechanics and realistically evaluate your potential to overcome and prevent injury without orthotic intervention. If necessary, we can prescribe the right orthotics for you.
When used appropriately, orthotics can be very effective in overcoming and preventing injury. If you are curious about your biomechanics and movement patterns and want to prevent potential issues book in for an athletic screen which includes a full biomechanical assessment.