Podiatry 102: Gait Analysis, Foot Structure & Orthotics

Podiatry is a branch of medicine dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of foot, ankle, and lower extremity disorders. Podiatrists, also known as doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs), address various conditions such as bunions, heel pain, ingrown toenails, fractures, sprains, and diabetic foot care. They can perform surgeries, prescribe medications, and provide orthotics or other treatments to manage pain and improve mobility. Podiatry plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health, especially for individuals with diabetes or circulatory issues.

Biomechanics in podiatry involves studying the mechanical principles that govern the movement and structure of the feet and lower extremities. It is crucial for understanding how forces and motions affect the foot’s function and health.

Key Areas:

  1. Gait Analysis: Evaluating walking and running patterns to identify abnormalities.
  2. Foot Structure: Examining the bones, muscles, and ligaments for proper alignment and function.
  3. Injury Prevention and Treatment: Designing orthotics and footwear to prevent injuries and alleviate pain.
  4. Performance Enhancement: Helping athletes improve efficiency and reduce injury risk.


  • Custom Orthotics: Creating personalized shoe inserts to correct biomechanical issues.
  • Rehabilitation: Designing exercise programs to restore normal function after injury.
  • Surgical Planning: Using biomechanical insights to guide surgical interventions for optimal outcomes.

Understanding biomechanics helps podiatrists diagnose issues more accurately and develop effective treatment plans tailored to individual needs. This specialized knowledge is vital for preventing injuries, managing chronic conditions, and enhancing overall foot and lower limb health.

Sports podiatry focuses on diagnosing, treating, and preventing foot and lower limb injuries related to athletic activities. It addresses the unique biomechanical demands and stresses placed on the feet by various sports.

Key Areas:

  1. Injury Treatment: Management of common sports injuries such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, stress fractures, and shin splints.
  2. Gait and Biomechanical Analysis: Assessment of an athlete’s movement to identify abnormalities that could lead to injury.
  3. Custom Orthotics: Designing specialized shoe inserts to enhance performance and prevent injuries.
  4. Footwear Advice: Recommending appropriate athletic footwear tailored to specific sports and individual foot types.


  • Improved performance through optimized foot mechanics.
  • Reduced risk of injury by correcting biomechanical imbalances.
  • Faster recovery from injuries with targeted treatments.


  • Athletes: From amateur to professional, benefiting from enhanced performance and reduced injury risk.
  • Recreational Sports Participants: Helping prevent and manage injuries in casual athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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