The Structural Fingerprint® Exam should be performed on all young athletes at least once a year. The x-rays should be taken only once unless there is a clinical need for more. Clinical need can mean new trauma, a significant growth spurt with new symptoms, or a host of other possibilities determined by the examining doctor.
This exam always begins at the feet and knees. I have performed hundreds of these exams on young athletes and am continually amazed at the gross imbalances I find. Pronation (flat footedness) and an increased Q angle (inward rotation of the knee) are classic imbalances that set an athlete up for future problems.
Digital scans of the feet (see Figure 5) show which arches have fallen, and a visual exam of the knee with the athlete in the standing position (see Figure 6) shows if the knees are aligned properly or rotated inward. When these two conditions appear on the same athlete, there is an exponential potential for injury and breakdown, with predictable additional biomechanical imbalances in the pelvis and low back.