Biomechanics is the science that applies the principles of mechanics to the movements of the human body. Particularly, it studies kinematics, so the movements of the body and dynamics that is, all the forces which affect these same movements.

Gait cycle

Ambulation is caused by a cyclical sequence of rhythmic movements, alternating in what we call gait cycle.

We define gait cycle as the period between two consecutive supports of the same foot, on the ground.

Every gait cycle is divided into two periods:
1. Stance phase
2. Swing phase

Actually, each one of these two phases is also subdivided into other phases, whose combination fulfills three main tasks:
– to lessen the impact of the heel on the ground;
– to guarantee the limbs stability;
– to allow the coordinated progression by following the regular rhythm of the steps.

Let’s try to understand, in more detail but easier, what happens to our foot during every single step.

Stance phase

During the first stance phase, the foot becomes and acts as a spring. It is in this particular moment that it must absorb the impact and store the energy for the next phase.

So, in order to be able to perform this phase, the foot is prone towards the inner part.

Swing phase

In the next phase instead, the swing one, the energy stored as kinetic energy, motion, is used to perform the step completely, and during this phase the foot becomes hollow and it acts as a rigid lever.

Biomechanics of step today

Today, biomechanics study is not the one from the past anymore, redacted with paper and pen.
It is a more organic discipline, which requires technology and knowledge. It is the classic multi-discipline example: doctors and engineers work together in order to understand how our foot reacts while we make steps.
This is valid not only for the “patients”: subjects who suffer for an altered pace, but also athletes as well, subjects who don’t have any pathology, but who ask to pace comprehension, to new shoes and modern technology for a support in order to extend higher their own limits, in a ligit and athletic way!