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Foot and Ankle Mechanics

presented by Jodi Young, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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The mechanics of the foot and ankle are rather complex, and breaking down what happens at each joint is beneficial in understanding how to better serve your patients when they come to you with a foot and/or ankle pathology. This course will start with a review of foot and ankle functional anatomy and then lead to a discussion of the mechanics associated with normal and abnormal movement of the foot and ankle. Lastly, we will discuss how to most appropriately assess for the use of orthotics, and review the appropriate orthotic prescription for specific foot postures.

Meet Your Instructor


Jodi Young, PT, DPT, PhD is the Director of Research for the Bellin College Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy program. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy. Jodi completed her PhD through the University of Newcastle in Australia where she researched physical therapy dosing in patients with…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

1. Functional Anatomy Review

This chapter will review the functional segments (hindfoot, midfoot, forefoot) of the foot/ankle and the bones that make up each of the functional segments. The bony structures, musculature and ligaments will be discussed and a review of specific diagnoses related to the various bones in the foot/ankle will be provided.

2. Normal/Abnormal Foot Mechanics

Normal and abnormal foot and ankle mechanics can be complex. The goal of this chapter is to break down the mechanics of the foot and ankle joints in a simplified fashion, as well as provide a review of the diagnoses that may occur with the foot and ankle joints. This will be done by defining motion in the foot and ankle, both in cardinal plane and composite motions. Special attention will be given to the talocrural and subtalar joints in this chapter, with skeletal, video and human model demonstrations of the various movements provided by each of these joints. Lastly, weight bearing and non-weight bearing supination and pronation will be explained in a simple, understandable way.

3. Transverse Tarsal Joint Mechanics

The movement provided by the transverse tarsal joint is important in normal foot mechanics, and as such this chapter will explain in depth what movements of the foot and ankle occur at the transverse tarsal joint and how they are related to the movements of other joints in the foot/ankle complex. The supination and pronation twist occurs here, and skeletal model and 3D renderings will be provided for further explanation of this concept. Diagnoses related to the transverse tarsal joint will be discussed in this chapter, but a main emphasis of this chapter will be to tie together the relationship of the transverse tarsal joint with the hindfoot and rearfoot during weight bearing and non-weight bearing.

4. Foot Posture Index

The Foot Posture Index is a diagnostic clinical tool used to quantify the degree of pronation, supination or neutral position a patient’s foot may have. This chapter will walk the learner through each of the six observations required by the examiner to quantify the foot posture an individual has. The scoring of the test will be described with a demonstration on a live patient, and pictures will be provided for each of the postures the examiner is looking for while administering the test.

5. Orthotics

The evidence for the use of orthotics is widespread and variable. This chapter will provide a history for the use of orthotics and reasons why orthotics are often prescribed. Objective data that should be collected prior to prescribing orthotics will be discussed, and the different types of foot orthoses will be shown. Current evidence for and against the use of foot orthotics will be given, providing the learner with the diagnoses orthotics may or may not help.

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