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Biomechanics of the foot and ankle 

Biomechanics of the foot and ankle
Biomechanics of the foot and ankle

Bryan English

and Nat Padhiar

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date: 19 June 2021

Understanding the biomechanics of the foot and ankle is important when considering musculoskeletal complaints of the lower limb in particular. The search for structural pathology may be fruitless if the underlying aetiology is a functional problem. Because of the complexity of the structure, the biomechanics differ from individual to individual. The foot and ankle consists of 26 bones, 57 joints, 32 muscles, and a network of ligaments. This complex has to work harmoniously for bipedal ambulation. Any alteration in the biomechanics will result in an alteration of forces throughout the lower kinetic chain (the lower limb) that predominantly functions as a closed kinetic chain (i.e. the foot is in contact with the floor) rather than as an open chain like the upper limb (the hand being free and not ‘fixed’). This alteration of forces will therefore affect and possibly disrupt the biomechanics of the rest of the body.

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