“In order to effectively treat any part of the human musculoskeletal system, it is important to fully understand its biomechanics” (Abboud, 2002).
Biomechanics is the core for teaching, research and provision of a comprehensive clinical service at the Institute of Motion Analysis & Research. It focusses on important aspects of our daily activities in relation to posture, movement and ergonomics, with emphasis placed on sports and disability. The overall aim is to alleviate pain, correct deformity and enhance performance.
So what actually is “biomechanics”? Is it art, science or the art of science?
Biomechanics is the study of “engineering” in “medicine” and in particular that of normal mechanics in the musculoskeletal system that analyses forces and their effects upon anatomical structures during movement. Studying movement properly is an art that requires an in-depth understanding of the science related to the biomechanics of the lower limb and in particular the foot, which is the only component of our body that acts upon an external surface - namely the ground. This in turn leads us to appreciate gait which describes the way we walk and the way we run. It has been possible to study gait in Dundee due to the establishment of a dedicated Gait Laboratory that was set up as far back as the 1960s, a Foot Pressure Analysis Laboratory in 1993 and most recently the Institute of Motion Analysis and Research (IMAR) in 2003. We are now in the position of providing a unique and comprehensive clinical service in motion analysis at IMAR. Unique in the sense that the Foot Pressure Analysis Laboratory is the only UK clinic for studying foot pressure analysis; comprehensive in that it incorporates a plethora of the latest state-of-the-art gait analysis equipment within five interlinked laboratories facilitating close and solid collaboration between Engineers, Scientists, Physiotherapists, Orthotists, Prosthetists, Podiatirists, Surgeons and Physicians.
Our main aim is to understand what is best for patients in order to alleviate pain and correct deformity and what is best for athletes in order to enhance performance and provide better protection against injury. This is delivered through dedicated taught courses as well as focussed research programmes.