Functional Anatomy and Biomechanics of the Foot and Ankle

This session included presentations on: The role of intrinsics in controlling pronation; Stabilisers of the medial column – surgical considerations; Foot structure and function relationships and the influence of footwear in running: implications for running injuries; and The elite sport experience of different playing surfaces.

The foot has a complex triplanar motion and its natural movement during foot landing is known as pronation. Poor pronation control can result in injuries such as medial tibial stress syndrome and patellofemoral pain, among others. The intrinsic foot muscles (IFM) contribute to the control of pronation, helping to support the medial longitudinal arch (MLA), and can be strengthened using the short foot exercise. Adequate strength, endurance and neuromuscular control of the IFM may influence pronation-related injuries. The influence of footwear and the foot structure–function relationship was discussed, as was the impact of different playing surfaces for elite athletes. Ideally, there needs to be a balance between surface hardness and traction, which enhances performance while simultaneously minimising injury risk. Injuries are perhaps seen from extremes of pitch conditions. Athletes perceive that pitch hardness affects the injury risk of specific tissues but there is a lack of proper objective data.