What Is Overpronation & What Can You Do About It?

Are you concerned by any of the following questions:

  • Do I over or under pronate?
  • What causes overpronation of the foot?
  • How do you fix overpronation?
  • What does it mean to over pronate?

You came to the right place as we hope to answer all those issues.

Being flat-footed can be a real problem in many ways. In an everyday sort of way, it can be painful and cause some expense in terms of uneven shoe wear. Although it is possible for people to stroll through life flat-footed without problems, more often that not this condition causes complications in terms of pronation. Pronation is an aspect of normal ambulation. It is made up of three different types of movement:

  1. Dorsiflexion – the foot’s upward movement.
  2. Eversion – the foot’s inward-rolling movement.
  3. Abduction – the outward movement of the toes.

These three aspects of pronation must be balanced. If any part is exaggerated or extreme, over pronation can be the result. This is especially true if you have flexible flat feet.

Why is overpronation a problem?

Over pronation is a term that podiatrists use to describe an excessively flattened plantar arch. If you are flat-footed, it is very likely that you are developing or suffering from over pronation, but you may not be fully aware of it.

Flat-footedness is a condition in which the arch of the foot collapses when weight is borne. Flat-footedness and overpronation puts a great deal of stress on the foot bones and the plantar fascia (the tendon that runs the length of the sole of your foot). Overpronation can cause a great deal of pain with the passage of time if it is not properly addressed.

Problems arising from untreated overpronation

In addition to pain and excessive wear and tear and stress on your feet and legs, untreated overpronation can also cause complications in terms of injury to the hips, knees, ankles and/or feet. This is especially true if you are overweight or if you put great demands upon your feet and legs with vigorous exercise such as running.

Some of the foot problems you may develop include:

  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
  • Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Compartment Syndrome
  • Achilles Tendinitis
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Shin Splints
  • Heel Spurs
  • Bunions

Excessive stress is not always to blame for over pronation. Flat-footedness may be an inherited condition that can cause a great deal of pain in the course of common everyday activities. It can also be caused by trauma and/or injury.

Ongoing stress caused by overpronation can cause damage to the ligaments and tendons of your lower legs. Overpronation also stresses your leg muscles and your pelvis. It can cause damage and misalignment of your shins, knees, thighs and pelvis as well as your hips and back. In short, if left untreated overpronation can cause generalized damage and pain.

Signs & symptoms to watch for

Here are the signs you should be on the lookout for that will let you know if you are at risk of developing or have already developed over pronation:

  • Painful joints in the hips, knees and/or ankles
  • Uneven wear on the soles of your shoes
  • Pain in the sole of your foot
  • Outward turning ankles
  • Pain in the arch
  • Shin pain

If you find that you are experiencing quite a bit of pain in your shins and the joints of your legs when you walk or run, you may be suffering from overpronation. Likewise, if you find that the inner area of the soles of your shoes wears out quickly, it is very likely that overpronation is the culprit.

Getting a jump on overpronation

Even if you have not noticed any of these symptoms, you may still be at risk for overpronation. Have a look at the soles of your feet. If you see that there is little or no arch structure in the inner edge of the sole of your foot, you are flat-footed. This is an indication that you are likely to develop overpronation.

If you are unsure, you can perform a simple test. When you have damp feet (e.g. after stepping out of the bath or shower) step on a flat dry surface such as a piece of cardboard. Look at your footprint. If it is completely flat with no indentation for arch, you are flat-footed. You should see your doctor to determine whether or not you are in the early stages of overpronation.

Your doctor will diagnose your problem through a series of tests and x-rays. This procedure will help determine why you are flat-footed and will help your doctor in designing a course of actions and preventative measures to treat your condition and, if necessary, your pain.

What can you do about over pronation?

There are a number of different ways to treat overpronation. Surgery is sometimes necessary, but most doctors and podiatrists prefer to pursue noninvasive methods if the condition is caught early. This may involve the use of either over-the-counter orthotics or orthotics that are made specifically for you.

These days, over-the-counter orthotics are actually very well made and can be extremely effective. They are also quite affordable. If your doctor does prescribe orthotics, they may be quite a bit more costly; however, rest assured that these custom-made orthotics are very durable and will give you a tremendous amount of value for your money.

Good orthotics will help provide the arch support you need to prevent the collapse of your arches when exercising or simply performing activities of daily living. Orthotic devices may be made of soft spongy rubber or of hard plastic. Your doctor will help you determine what type of support you need. In addition to arch support you may also need heel support.

Your doctor may also recommend that you take over-the-counter pain medications as needed. If your pain is severe, your doctor may prescribe pain medications. Foot exercises, soaking, foot spas, massage, acupuncture and other home remedies and alternative treatments may also help reduce your pain.

Is it possible to prevent overpronation?

In the absence of genetic overpronation, it is entirely possible to prevent this problem. You should know that wearing shoes that do not fit properly and do not provide correct support can cause and contribute to the problem of overpronation. Simply wearing properly fitted shoes with good support (or right foot insoles) throughout your life can help you avoid becoming flat-footed and developing overpronation.

Talk with your doctor about finding the right shoes. Ask him or her to provide recommendations on brands of shoes. This is especially important if you are an athlete or runner. Ask your doctor to recommend the best running and/or workout shoes for overpronation.

Be sure to choose shoes that provide proper arch and heel support and have a roomy toe box that will allow your toes to lie flat. Avoid wearing high heels, and change your shoes a couple of times daily to vary heel height. This will help prevent stress in the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments of your feet, ankles, legs and hips. By taking good care of your feet and following doctor’s orders, you can prevent or ease over pronation.

Disclaimer: Pedi Reviews does not provide medical advice, treatment or diagnosis.

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