"It is amazing the unique way the staff works as a whole unit. You have created a terrific environment where hard work and fun made my visits with Bodycentral a totally positive experience!" - E. Campbell
Gait analysis is a systematic way to look at running or walking biomechanics. This generally includes the use of multiple high- speed video cameras and computerized software programs that can slow the videos down for the evalutor to look at mechanics frame by frame. Specially trained evaluators look at what happens at each joint in the body with each phase of the gait cycle. Simple things like a larger than normal stride length can cause problems from hamstring and ITB pain, to heel pain and plantar fasciitis. By looking at all the little motions and how they come together as a whole, a trained evaluator can use these movement patterns and deviations to determine where breakdowns are occurring in the body. Combining the musculoskeletal (strength, flexibility & balance) findings with the video biomechanics analysis gives a wealth of information that can be used to create a "Blueprint for Success" for each individual. Each runner or athlete is different- and their programs should be specifically designed for their unique issues. This is definitely not a "One Size Fits All" type of program.
In addition to video analysis, a good running or walking evaluation should include a head to toe musculoskeletal assessment for flexibility, strength, and balance. Each joint should be evaluated to look for stiffness and limited motion, as well as hypermobility- or too much motion. Shoe wear and current orthotics should also be evaluated for wear patterns and to make sure they are providing adequate support to the runner or walker.
There are many injuries that are often caused, at least in part, by poor biomechanics. Runners and athletes whose sports require a high level of running and jumping can benefit from a high quality gait analysis to avoid overuse injuries.
The following are a list of common injuries that may be in part caused by poor biomechanics:
A specific strength, flexibility, & balance program, good biomechanics, and the appropriate shoe wear are important for healthy running and walking activities. Training regimens that increase mileage too quickly, or ones that do not allow adequate rest between bouts of training- or training for multiple races without rest can also contribute to chronic aches and pains.
If you are experiencing pain that comes and goes, or pain that is nagging and you cannot figure out the cause-- this type of evaluation may be right for you.
If you have pain (even after trying all those exercises you found on the internet), this type of evaluation may be right for you.
Dr. Jennifer Allen is a Physical Therapist, Board Certified Clinical Specialist in the Areas of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, as well as a Certified Hand Therapist. Sports Programming at Bodycentral Physical Therapy includes Biomechanics assessment, video movement assessment, Injury Prevention, and individual and team performance enhancement. For more information visit www.BodycentralPT.netor call 520-325-4002.
Heel Pain & What To Do About It…Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It is an irritation or inflammation of the plantar fascia – the structure that runs from the heel to the ball of the foot. This is a strong, dense strip of tissue that supports the arch of the foot, almost like the string on an archer's bow. When the foot is on the ground, the full weight of the body is concentrated on the plantar fascia, forcing it to stretch as the arch of the foot flattens from the full weight of the body. In the example of the archer's bow, if the bow is trying to straighten, picture the string being forced to stretch.
This leads to stress on the plantar fascia where it attaches to the heel bone. This may lead to small tears of the fascia. These tears are usually repaired by the body, but repetitive stress may result in incomplete healing. A bone spur can result as the body tries to compensate for too much stress.
If Your First Steps Are Painful…
Pain in the heel can occur due to bone spurs, inflammation of the plantar fascia (known as plantar fasciitis) or impingement of the small nerves in the foot. Symptoms of plantar fasciitis include pain on or around the heel when weight is placed on the foot. This is usually worst in the morning, especially with the first few steps after getting out of bed. In most cases, there is no pain at night since the fascia tightens up overnight. Morning motion causes pulling of the fascia and results in pain that can be described as sharp, burning or stabbing. Pain usually reduces during the course of the day as the tissue warms up. Prolonged standing, walking or getting up after long periods of sitting usually irritate the fascia.
Common causes of heel pain include: Excessive running or jumping·Overload of physical activity (especially for athletes)· High arches, flat feet, abnormal gait·Wearing improper shoes while walking or running·Diabetes in the case of the elderly· Recent weight gain or pregnancy
Taking The Right Steps To Relieve Heel Pain
In most cases, plantar fasciitis does not require surgery and can be treated conservatively. However, every individual heals at a different pace.If you suffer from heel pain, the first thing you need to do is determine the cause. For example, you may need to replace your old, worn out shoes. You may need to rest if there has been a significant increase in your activity levels. The next thing to do is to call your physical therapist. You may even need to see a doctor or podiatrist. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy to help you reduce pain and inflammation and resume daily activities without pain. In some cases, your doctor may give you cortisone shot to address excessive inflammation.
Most people with heel pain get better with physical therapy. Therapy usually includes stretching the calf muscles (on the back of the lower leg) to take the tension off the plantar fascia. If your calf is really tight, the doctor may order a night splint (to be worn while you sleep at night). This will place a mild stretch on the calf muscles and the plantar fascia. This helps reduce morning pain. Patients with plantar fasciitis are commonly prescribed physical therapy. Our therapists design exercises to improve flexibility in the calf muscles and the plantar fascia. Treatment helps control pain and swelling. We will also look at your foot and entire leg mechanics to find out the mechanical reasons why you have problems.
Call our office today, and we'll help you take the right steps without pain!