This is an aspect of Podiatry that is most related to engineering, the body is a whole not a collection of bits!
Hip, knee or even shoulder pain could be a result of poor foot function, which could be causing pain in the foot directly or presenting in the other joints or soft tissues of the body.
For example, if one leg is shorter than the other to compensate for this action , the pelvis will tilt, the spine may bend, the opposite knee may bend or it may move out to the side putting stress on the hip and the knee or you may go through a combination of these compensating positions.
Over a long period of time things are going to change, muscles are going to fatigue and spasm, bones may change their shape and joints may be thrown out of line resulting in "wear and tear" arthritis. Enjoying sporting activities could accelerate the faults and show up earlier , so a Biomechanical Assessment would be suitable for those who paticipate in sport, to help resolve their injuries.
The problem occurs when the motion becomes excessive, since the muscles that run from the lower part of the spine to the upper part of the thigh become over stretched causing the pelvis and the lower back to tilt forward, the body then wants to "straighten up" by bending our lower spine into a greater curve and hence moving up into the neck and shoulders, usually causing pain and discomfort.
The consultation will take about an hour and half, which will consist of looking closely at the muscle strength, range of motion of the hip, knee and foot and then gait analysis when walking. Analysis is done at rest and in motion as problems may be present in both areas or only one.Lifesyle, sport and footwear will all be taken into account as Biomechanical assessment is about the full picture of the body, not just the bit that hurts.
Once the Biomechanical faults are established a treatment plan is put in place, this may include footwear advice, exercises and a prescription of orthotics.
These are a Biomechanical orthotic devices that are custom made for the patient ( similar to spectacles for the eyes), part of the assessment the feet will be casted in plaster of paris, the casts are set at an angle to capture the angular relationships between the various segments of the feet and to optimise the position of the foot in walking. The casts are sent to the lab with a prescription and the finished orthotics are returned to the practitioner for fitting to the patient.( Langer Biomechanics group uk is the lab that we use).
These orthotics devices then control the abnormal motion going on in the body and move the body into specific positions at specific times in the gait or walking cycle therefore decreasing/eliminating of foot symptoms and very often leg and back fatigue at the same time. These are NOT arch supports but complex pieces of engineering.