Pronation is the inward movement of the foot as it rolls to distribute the force of impact of the ground as you run. The foot "rolls" inward about fifteen percent, comes in complete contact with the
ground, and can support your body weight without any problem. Pronation is critical to proper shock absorption, and it helps you push off evenly from the front of the foot. Although pronation is a
natural movement of the foot, the size of the arch can affect its ability to roll, causing either supination (underpronation) or overpronation. If you have a normal arch, you're likely a normal
pronator, meaning you'll do best in a shoe that offers moderate pronation control. People with flat feet normally overpronate, so they do well in a motion-control shoe that controls pronation.
High-arched people typically underpronate, so they do best in a neutral-cushioned shoe that encourages a more natural foot motion.
Over-pronation may happen because the tissue that attaches to your foot bones is loose. You may be born with this problem or it may result from injuries or overuse, like from too much running.
Because pronation is a twisting of the foot, all of the muscles and tendons which run from the leg and ankle into the foot will be twisted. In over-pronation, resulting laxity of the soft tissue
structures of the foot and loosened joints cause the bones of the feet shift. When this occurs, the muscles which 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. Injuries due to poor biomechanics and twisting of these muscles due to over-pronation include: 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). Foot problems due to over-pronation include: bunions, heel spurs, plantar
fasciitis, fallen and painful arches, hammer toes, and calluses.
At some point you may find the pain to much or become frustrated. So what are you options? Chances are your overpronation has led to some type of injury if there's pain. Your best bet is to consult
with someone who knows feet. Start with your pediatrist, chiropodist or chiropractor. They'll be able to diagnose and treat the injury and give you more specific direction to better support your
feet. One common intervention is a custom foot orthotic. Giving greater structural support than a typical shoe these shoe inserts can dramatically reduce overpronation.
Non Surgical Treatment
Mild cases of Overpronation may be controlled or corrected with a supportive shoe that offers medial support to the foot along with a strong heel counter to control excessive motion at the heel
starting with heel strike. In mild cases with no abnormal mechanical pressures, an over the counter orthotic with heel cup and longitudinal or medial arch support to keep the foot from progressing
past neutral may help to realign the foot. A Custom foot orthotic with heel cup and longitudinal arch support to help correct position of the foot as it moves through motion. Heel wedges may also
assist in correcting motion.
Exercises to strengthen and stretch supporting muscles will help to keep the bones in proper alignment. Duck stance: Stand with your heels together and feet turned out. Tighten the buttock muscles,
slightly tilt your pelvis forwards and try to rotate your legs outwards. You should feel your arches rising while you do this exercise. Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall and place hands on it for
support. Lean forwards until stretch is felt in the calves. Hold for 30 seconds. Bend at knees and hold for a further 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times. Golf ball: While drawing your toes upwards towards
your shins, roll a golf ball under the foot between 30 and 60 seconds. If you find a painful point, keep rolling the ball on that spot for 10 seconds. Big toe push:
Stand with your ankles in a neutral position (without rolling the foot inwards). Push down with your big toe but do not let the ankle roll inwards or the arch collapse. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10
times. Build up to longer times and fewer repetitions. Ankle strengthener: Place a ball between your foot and a wall. Sitting down and keeping your toes pointed upwards, press the outside of the foot
against the ball, as though pushing it into the wall. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. Arch strengthener: Stand on one foot on the floor. The movements needed to remain balanced will
strengthen the arch. When you are able to balance for 30 seconds, start doing this exercise using a wobble board.