What Is Overpronation

Overview

Overpronation is a term that gets thrown around a lot by psuedo-experts and there is so much written online about it, that it can get very confusing to determine what is legitimate and what is not. Pronation is a normal motion of the foot that occurs when the ankle rolls inwards and the arch collapses. This is normal. Its not something evil. Overpronation is assumed to be when there is too much of it. There certainly is debate as to just how much is too much, as some people have large amounts and have no problems, other have small amounts and do have problems. It all comes down to individual differences and how much force is needed to stop the foot moving. The greater the force, regardless of the amounts of pronation, the more likely it is to be a problem. Some still like to debate if it is a problem or not. Some studies have shown that its not a problem and other studies have shown it is. If the data from all these studies are pooled, then the conclusion was that, yes, overpronation is a problem that was statistically significant, but it was only a small risk factor for problems. An associated finding of overpronation during a gait analysis is an abductory twist.Over Pronation

Causes

Unless there is a severe, acute injury, overpronation develops as a gradual biomechanical distortion. Several factors contribute to developing overpronation, including tibialis posterior weakness, ligament weakness, excess weight, pes planus (flat foot), genu valgum (knock knees), subtalar eversion, or other biomechanical distortions in the foot or ankle. Tibialis posterior weakness is one of the primary factors leading to overpronation. Pronation primarily is controlled by the architecture of the foot and eccentric activation of the tibialis posterior. If the tibialis posterior is weak, the muscle cannot adequately slow the natural pronation cycle.

Symptoms

Because overpronation affects the entire lower leg, many injuries and conditions may develop and eventually cause problems not only in the leg and foot, but also the knee, hips and lower back. Pain often begins in the arch of the foot or the ankle. Blisters may develop on the instep, or on the inside edge of the heels. As overpronation continues and problems develop, pain will be felt elsewhere, depending on the injury.

Diagnosis

The best way to discover whether you have a normal gait, or if you overpronate, is to visit a specialty run shop, an exercise physiologist, a podiatrist or a physical therapist who specializes in working with athletes. A professional can analyze your gait, by watching you either walk or run, preferably on a treadmill. Some facilities can videotape your gait, then analyze the movement of your feet in slow-motion. Another (and less costly) way is to look at the bottom of an older pair of run shoes. Check the wear pattern. A person with a normal gait will generally see wear evenly across the heel and front of the shoe. A person who overpronates will likely see more wear on the OUTside of the heel and more wear on the INside of the forefoot (at the ball). A person who supinates will see wear all along the outer edges of the shoe. You can also learn about your gait by looking at your arches. Look at the shape your wet feet leave on a piece of paper or a flat walking surface.Over Pronation

Non Surgical Treatment

Personal orthotics can be prescribed via your healthcare professional. If finances or insurance are issues, similar and often better options can be purchased online for overpronation. The right walking shoes are also essential. Most shoes cater to neutral foot gaits, unless they specifically state otherwise. That won?t help you if your foot rolls inward. In order to correct the issue, you need shoes with stability or motion control abilities, low heels, deep heel cups, and good arch support.

Prevention

Wear supportive shoes. If we're talking runners you're going to fall in the camp of needing 'motion control' shoes or shoes built for 'moderate' or 'severe' pronators. There are many good brands of shoes out there. Don't just wear these running, the more often the better. Make slow changes. Sudden changes in your training will aggravate your feet more than typical. Make sure you slowly increase your running/walking distance, speed and even how often you go per week. Strengthen your feet. As part of your running/walking warm up or just as part of a nightly routine try a few simple exercises to strengthen your feet, start with just ten of each and slowly add more sets and intensity. Stand facing a mirror and practice raising your arch higher off the ground without lifting your toes. Sit with a towel under your feet, scrunch your toes and try to pull the towel in under your feet. Sitting again with feet on the ground lift your heels as high as you can, then raise and lower on to toe tips.

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