Exercise Science and Podiatry
Exercise science and Podiatry are complementary disciplines. As an Exercise Scientist, one is well versed in the physical, technical and tactical requirements of different sports. Combined with knowledge of podiatric medicine, this enables a thorough understanding of the likely causes of different injuries which facilitates an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.
Strength and conditioning knowledge derived from exercise science as well as knowledge of injury patho-mechanics derived from podiatric medicine is invaluable when devising a rehabilitation program. An exercise program and performance tests that are appropriate to the relevant sport can be applied so that physical capacities are at an appropriate level prior to returning to play, significantly reducing the change of injury recurrence. In addition, training load can be progressed at an appropriate rate, again reducing the change of injury recurrence.
An example is a cyclist with anterior (front) knee pain. As a podiatrist, one knows that the foot and ankle can significantly impact the knee in addition to other internal factors such as poor hip strength and quadricep muscle dysfunction. If it were decided that the foot and ankle was playing a major role, traditional orthotic devices may be suboptimal. Traditional devices generally exert influence at the heel and midfoot, however, during cycling power is transferred through the forefoot. Based on this, it seems more appropriate to create an orthotic device that exerts its effects at the forefoot rather than the rearfoot for a cyclist. Additional factors that would need to be considered include training errors. Knee pain is believed to be exacerbated by riding up hills and in heavy gears. Even if training load were controlled, without this knowledge return to normal training may be problematic.
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