To understand "overpronation" it's important to first understand pronation. Pronation is a normal function of the foot. It is the inward motion of the ankle bone and outward motion of the rest of the
foot bones, which occurs naturally when the foot hits the ground and weight is applied. Pronation is a good thing; it cushions the foot and the entire body during the walking cycle. It keeps the foot
and ankles protected from hard impact and an uneven ground surface. Overpronation occurs when too much pronation is present. In other words, overpronation occurs when the inward motion of the ankle
bone is excessive and goes past the healthy point necessary for its intended functions. This excessive motion is caused by a misalignment between the ankle bone and the hindfoot bones. It creates an
imbalance of forces and weight distribution in the foot that propagates throughout the entire body. Over time, this functional imbalance causes repetitive damage to joints, ligaments and bone
structures. Left untreated, overpronation can lead to foot ailments such as bunions, heel pain (plantar faciitis), hammertoes, etc. Furthermore, the excessive motion in the foot can travel up the
body and cause knee, hip and lower back pain.
It is important to identify the cause of overpronation in order to determine the best treatment methods to adopt. Not all treatments and preventative measures will work equally well for everyone, and
there may be a little trial and error involved to get the best treatment. A trip to a podiatrist or a sports therapist will help you to establish the cause of overpronation, and they will be able to
tell you the best treatments based on your specific degree of overpronation and the cause. Overpronation has many causes, with the most common reasons for excessive pronation listed, low arches,
flexible flat feet, fallen arches, gait abnormalities, abnormal bone structure, abnormal musculature, bunions, corns and calluses.
Due to the laxity of the soft tissue structures of the foot, and the fact that the joints are not held together properly, the bones of the feet shift. When this occurs, the muscles that attach to
these bones must also shift, or twist, in order to attach to these bones. The strongest and most important muscles that attach to our foot bones come from our lower leg. So, as these muscles course
down the leg and across the ankle, they must twist to maintain their proper attachments in the foot. This twisting of these muscles will cause shin splints, Achilles Tendonitis, generalized
tendonitis, fatigue, muscle aches and pains, cramps, ankle sprains, and loss of muscular efficiency (reducing walking and running speed and endurance). The problems we see in the feet, which are due
to over-pronation include bunions, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, fallen and painful arches, hammertoes, metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain), and calluses.
So, how can you tell if you have overpronation, or abnormal motion in your feet, and what plantar fasciitis treatment will work to correct it? Look at your feet. While standing, do you clearly see
the arch on the inside of your foot? If not, and if the innermost part of your sole touches the floor, then your feet are overpronated. Look at your (running/walking) shoes. If your shoes are more
worn on the inside of the sole in particular, then pronation may be a problem for you. Use the wet foot test. Wet your feet and walk along a section of pavement, then look at the footprints you leave
behind. A normal foot will leave a print of the heel connected to the forefoot by a strip approximately half the width of the foot on the outside of the sole. If you?re feet are pronated there may be
little distinction between the rear and forefoot.
Non Surgical Treatment
Get a gait analysis of your running style, this will highlight if you overpronate, oversupinate or have a neutral gait. Most podiatrists, physio's and sports therapists will offer this service, as do
some specialist sports shops. Find a clinic. If you overpronate, get orthotics with extra medial support. Many running shoes have a harder material on the inside of the midsole (the thick hard foam
part of the running shoe). This means the inside of the shoe will be compressed less under load and support the inside of the foot preventing it from rolling in or flattening. For people with
considerable overpronation, another option is to have an orthotic device fitted. Orthotic insoles come in many types and prices. Some are pre-molded and can be bought off the shelf. These are ok for
the majority of problem feet. However some cases may require specially casted orthotics from a relevant sports injury therapist or podiatrist.
Wearing the proper footwear plays a key role as a natural way to help pronation. Pronated feet need shoes that fit well, provide stability, contain supportive cushioning, are comfortable and allow
enough room for your foot to move without causing pain or discomfort. Putting special inner heel wedges, known as orthotics, into your shoes can support a flatfoot while lowering risks of developing
tendinitis, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. More extensive cases may require specially fitted orthopaedic shoes that support the arches.