What is Overpronation?
The term overpronation is used to describe an excess amount of pronation and is usually treated with arch supports. Pronation is the movement of the foot that includes an inward rolling motion that causes flattening of the arch of the foot. Pronation is a normal part of the gait cycle found in walking and provides shock absorption to the foot, however, if you pronate too far, overpronation occurs. During overpronation, the arch remains flat and the ankle rolls too far inward as you begin to push off your toes. This places extra pressure on the muscles and ligaments of the foot and can eventually cause a lot of pain. Flat feet and plantar fasciitis are associated with overpronation.
The opposite of overpronation is oversupination. Supination is again a normal part of the walking cycle, however, oversupination occurs when the foot rolls outward too far, or does not pronate enough and can also have some painful side effects. Supination is associated with high arches
What Happens if You Have Overpronation?
When overpronation occurs on a regular basis, numerous injuries or symptoms can occur. These may include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Achilles tendonitis
- Heel Spurs
- Patello-femoral pain syndrome
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome
Overpronation causes the foot to roll inward which, in turn, causes the lower leg to turn inward. This puts the hip and the knee out of proper alignment and can also cause an altered rotation of the back.
How Can Overpronation Be Helped?
In most cases, someone who has a lot of overpronation will be prescribed custom made or off-the-shelf foot orthotics (arch supports). Foot orthotics (arch supports) control the position of the foot and work towards correcting the overpronation issue. Orthotic insoles designed for overpronation include appropriate arch support and often include medial rearfoot posting that can tip the foot away from the pronated position. It is also important to choose the correct footwear. When deciding upon a shoe, make sure you choose one with good stability and a firm heel counter.
Am I An Overpronator?
To determine if you are prone to overpronation look at your feet in a standing position. Do you have a clear arch when you do this or are the soles of your feet touching the floor? If you have no defined arch you most likely have flat feet. If you get someone to look at your heels from behind, overpronators will also have ankles that turn in, and may stand in a ‘knock-kneed’ position.
Your shoes can tell you how you’ve been walking. If they are worn on the inside of the sole, overpronation may be a problem for you. For a true assessment, see your doctor, pedorthist, or podiatrist.
Foot orthotics (arch Supports) can be used to support the arch, control the overpronation, and keep your feet in a better anatomical position, which keeps the legs in a better position as well. There are no better ways than the use of orthotic insoles to control overpronation.