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How to progress in biomechanics

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by MissB, May 1, 2012.

  1. MissB

    MissB Active Member

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    Hello everyone

    I graduated last year, so yes I am a podiatry baby! I’m REALLY passionate about biomechanics and it’s definitely the area I want to specialise in. Without sounding too cheesy - it is my passion, I am fascinated by the subject and all my spare time is spent reading and trying to learn and absorb as much as is humanly possible!! The problem is that the more I read, the more I realise how much more there is to know!

    Do any of you have any tips on how I can progress in my chosen area?

    At the moment I am overwhelmed! Not really sure what to do first in terms of post grad courses etc. I want to do EVERYTHING. Now whilst I do want to know everything (!!) I know that this isn't possible - and experience is needed. What post grad courses/CPD do you recommend I begin with?

    Thank you!
  2. Lorcan

    Lorcan Active Member

    What part of the world are you in?
  3. efuller

    efuller MVP

    I was fortunate enough to be able to do a fellowship. If there was another one, I'd recommend that. However, what I had access to in the fellowship was patients who needed orthoses, other people who had spent a lot of time fabricating and dispensing orthoses, a well stocked library and a lab where orthoses could be made and modified.

    What you need to be doing is constantly asking how things work. How does an orthotic work? How are we able to walk? You need the big questions to guide you in what you need to know to answer those questions. Start with anatomy, you can't know it too well. Then you have to understand how the anatomy interacts. There are a lot of biomechanical theories that treat anatomy as a black box. For example, the concept of locking of the midtarsal joint is never adequately explained in terms of the anatomy. A guiding question here is why doesn't the arch collapse? When I started to think about this I went out and got an engineering statics textbook. Do the problems at the back of the chapter so that you can understand how a beam or an arch supports a load. The above is an approach that is sort of starting from scratch. But, that's not a bad thing. There are many who have written about the body using that approach. It helps to have the background when reading those articles.

    So, there are many good articles in the classic section here on the arena. Hicks' articles are the ones that helped me the most when I was doing the fellowship. Some other authors that I could recommend in the field of biomechanics are Peter Cavanagh, David Winter, and Benno Nigg. They often don't write specifically about the foot, but everything that I've read from them has been good.

    There's lots more to say, but that's a good start for now.

  4. Something like this...

    Attached Files:

  5. MissB

    MissB Active Member

    I am In Manchester, UK.

    Thank you for the pictorial diagram. Just what I needed to help give me some clarity.

    E Fuller:
    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question.
    You have given me some great pointers. I really love your idea about looking at engineering – what a FAB idea! Actually, I have in the past thought about looking at structural engineering texts. I have an art history background and remember doing some research on the Crystal Place (the place of the Great Exhibition, 1882). Did you know that the designer was actually a gardener? He came up with the glass house design when looking at lily pads in a pond; he thought it was incredible the way that the fragile leafs could support a person’s body weight. The structural design of the Crystal Palace was based on the ribs of a lily pad – that is how it could support the glass. AMAZING!

    ALSO…thinking about it, I remember reading an article about biomimickery. The article was about the Japanese bullet train, which initially had a design flaw that caused it to produce a loud bang when passing through a tunnel. The designers of the train looked to the kingfisher for inspiration, using its beak as a template for the design of the front of the train – and guess what?! IT WORKED. Not only was the train quieter but it was also more efficient.

    Nature + engineering = results!!

    As for starting from scratch, I don’t mind that. I want to be the best I can be…I will be off to the library later armed with a list of texts!

    Thank you!
  6. Lorcan

    Lorcan Active Member

    Miss B

    I would suggest you look into the MSc Clinical Podiatric Biomechanics @ Staffordshire Uni down the road from you. It a great place to start and very well run. You could just do the Cert and HDip before considering the Research Msc.

    best of luck.
  7. bmjones1234

    bmjones1234 Active Member

    What Journals do you currently read? Or Articles have your read recently?

    3 Articles I would recommend are the following:

    Physiotherapy 92 (2006) 122-127 An overview of podiatric biomechanics theory and its relation to selected gait dysfunction. Paul Harradine, Lawrence Bevan, Nik Carter.

    Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association Vol 99 (4) (2009) 317-325 A Review of the Theoretical Unified Approach to Podiatric Biomechanics in Relation to Foot Orthoses Therapy. Paul Harradine, Lawrence Bevan.

    Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association Vol 101 (6) (2011) The Medial Oblique Shell Inclination Technique; A Method to Increase Subtalar Supination Moments in Foot Orthoses. Paul Harradine, Simon Collins, Chris Webb, Lawrence Bevan.

    I recommend you read the oldest 1st then progress to the latest it will make more sense. Some really good CPD here and helped me take a whole new dimension on how I look at orthoses even at student level. Any problems getting hold of the articles let me know and I'll see if I can help.

    Hope that helps.
  8. Lorcan

    Lorcan Active Member

    Hi bmjones1234

    Any chance you could post up the first 2 articles. I have to give a presentation next week to Sports Medics on Podiatric Biomechanics and they would be very useful to offer further reading.

    many thanks.
  9. RobinP

    RobinP Well-Known Member

  10. bmjones1234

    bmjones1234 Active Member

  11. MissB

    MissB Active Member

    Thanks guys :)
  12. mpoliver

    mpoliver Member

    This may sound obvious, but the only way to progress in this area is by seeing as many patients as you can with MSK complaints. If you work for an NHS podiatry service, try to get in on their MSK caseload. You will hopefully be working with someone with a lot more experience who you can discuss cases with, and help you make the links between theory and practice. The same would go with private practice- find someone with a lot of experience, and learn from them.

    Once you start seeing this type of patient regularly, you will get a feel for what works for what type of presentation, and equally what does not. You will also get an idea of how different types of people respond to the same thing. Patients don't find into neat theroetcial packages that exactly follow the literature . To my mind, getting the patient history right is imperative, so critically appraise how you go about obtaining it, and reflect on how you could improve. The patient usually has all the answers within them, and the skill is extracting this info.

    There are a lot of courses that you can do, but make sure before you do them that you will have the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge that you gain. E.g. there is no point doing a corticosteroid injection therapy course if you will not be able to practice this afterwards.

    In short, grab all the opportunities to see, treat and discuss patients, and build up your experience in this area. Without this, progression will be difficult. Good luck.

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