Emerging Concepts In Podiatric Biomechanics

By Kevin A. Kirby, DPM, MS

    The world of podiatric biomechanics is very different now than when Merton Root, DPM, created the first Department of Podiatric Biomechanics at the California College of Chiropody in San Francisco in 1966.1 During those exciting early years of development within the new subspecialty of “podiatric biomechanics,” Dr. Root and his podiatric colleagues created a classification system, based on the subtalar joint (STJ) neutral position, that remains to this day the most complete method by which to classify the structure of the foot and lower extremity.1,2     During that same period of seminal intellectual growth, Dr. Root also developed a new type of thermoplastic foot orthosis, popularly called the Root functional orthosis, which has served as the basis for the modern custom foot orthosis that is currently in wide use in multiple medical specialties.3,4     Largely due to the intellectual seeds that Dr. Root and coworkers planted on the West Coast nearly 40 years ago with Dr. Root’s pioneering work in foot biomechanics and custom foot orthoses, there has been a significant increase in the use of custom foot orthoses by foot health professionals for the treatment of foot and lower extremity pathologies.1 In addition, over the past 40 years, there has been a literal explosion in the amount, sophistication and quality of foot and lower extremity biomechanics research within the worldwide podiatric, medical and biomechanics literature.     Due to this ever increasing body of fascinating scientific research by multiple clinical scientific disciplines, it is understandably very difficult for the busy podiatrist to remain abreast of new theories, technologies and therapeutic techniques that are being considered by experts within the scientific discipline of biomechanics. Accordingly, let us take a closer look at the latest available technologies, theories and therapeutic advances within the international biomechanics community in order to facilitate a better understanding of emerging concepts in podiatric biomechanics.

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