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Reseach into Root Biomechanics

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by Shane Toohey, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Shane Toohey

    Shane Toohey Active Member

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    Hi all,

    At the recent Australian Podiatry Conference on the gold Coast Dr Christopher Nester presented a series of lectures. Thank You.
    I was expecting/ to have some outline or summary available but have not been able to find them.
    Basically Dr Nester brought forward research that refuted a number of the pillars of the "Root" theory of biomechanics (or rather the way Root et al have been interpreted for the theories that they put forward).
    I anm very keen to have listed the "Root" theories that have been shown to fail current reasearch.
    I would have sent this request personally to Dr Nester but haven't worked out how to do that. Seeing also that there were about 600 pods on the Gold Coast perhaps soneone else did better than me and took good notes to pass on.
    Thanks for any help.

  2. efuller

    efuller MVP

    Hi Shane,

    It might be easier to list the parts of Root theory that have been proven or supported by research.

    I can't think of any of the top of my head.

    I would bet that a partially compensated varus (forefoot or rearfoot) will show high pressures under the lateral forefoot in static stance. I don't think the research has been done though.

    The idea of the Midtarsal joint having to fixed axes was not really Root's idea, but Root et al used it. It was proposed by Elftman. Nestor showed that the actual motion of the joint does not follow either of those axes. This may not necessarily disprove Elftman's idea, but it certainly does not support it. However, you can disprove this to your self by taking a foot with a large amount of midtarsal joint motion and moving the forefoot about an axis perpendicular to the traditional oblique axis.

    An axis cannot limit motion. An axis describes the motion. This disproves the logic behind the rigid lever mobile adapter explanation.

    So, what part of Root theory works for you. Just because something works does not mean that the explanation of how it works is true.


  3. Shane:

    Like Eric said, it would be much easier to list how many of "Root" theories have been supported by research.

    Here they are (i.e. we are still waiting) :





  4. Shane Toohey

    Shane Toohey Active Member

    Thanks Eric and Kevin,

    It's not that I am taking any position about what is called "Root" biomechanics. The purpose of my question was to get the list (I think 8 points) that Dr Nestor says were shown by research to not hold up.
    In the practicalities of treating and explaining conditions presented to them I would guess that the majority of podiatrists use sets of beliefs in an habitual manner without questioning their bases.

    So can anyone out there help me with that list?

  5. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

  6. Shane:

    I'll send Chris an e-mail and ask him to provide us his list.
  7. Craig Payne

    Craig Payne Moderator

    I caught Chris's lecture, but can't recall what the 8 were.

    This has come up in other threads - we need to be clear what we criticising. A lot of the criticisms I have seen of Root Biomehcanics, were not really criticisms of Root Biomechanics (and I have been gulity of this), they were criticisms of their interpretation of what they think Root biomechanics was or is.

    This is from a Boot Camp slide:
    I also think we need to be clearer on what is a "theory" and what is a "prescription protocol".

    Root theory, sagittal plane theory and SALRE are theories
    Tissue stress model is really just a prescription protocol
    The practical application of Root theory, sagittal plane theory, SALRE are also prescription protocols

    Most of the critiques of root biomechanics are based on the practical application of the theory (ie the prescription protocol). I have seen very little that have really addressed the 'theoretical underpinnings' of the model
  8. Shane Toohey

    Shane Toohey Active Member

    To all who are kindly replying,

    I think I ned to make it very obvious: I have no agenda about the ins and outs of "Root" biomechanics. I think that a tremendous amount of benefit has derived from the interpretations that have been made. I also think that it has also been treated far too dogmatically by many as well as badly misinterpreted by many at a clinical level.
    I worded my question that way as the lectures started with a query about whether it is time to move on from Root.
    I am simply interested in the content of the lectures presented by Dr Nester, to look it over for my interest in understanding more about application to what I do in practice. Whether it makes a difference or not we shall see.

    Thanks again for your responses and thank you Kevin for alerting Dr Nester to my query as I would have contacted him privately if I knew how. I did try.

  9. Josh Burns

    Josh Burns Active Member

  10. Shane Toohey

    Shane Toohey Active Member

    Thanks Josh,

    That was exactly what I wanted and is greatly appreciated.
    I actually had tried in the past and got "page unavailable" re the conference presentation.

    Kind regards

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