Overpronation is a term used to describe excessive flattening of the plantar arch. Pronation is a normal part of our gait (the way we walk), and it comprises three movements: dorsiflexion, eversion,
and abduction. Dorsiflexion is the upward movement of the foot, eversion describes the foot rolling in, and abduction is ?out toeing,? meaning your toes are moving away from the midline of your body.
When these three motions are extreme or excessive, overpronation results. Overpronation is very common in people who have flexible flat feet. Flatfoot, or pes planus, is a condition that causes
collapse of the arch during weight bearing. This flattening puts stress on the plantar fascia and the bones of the foot, resulting in pain and further breakdown.
Generally fallen arches are a condition inherited from one or both parents. In addition, age, obesity, and pregnancy cause our arches to collapse. Being in a job that requires long hours of standing
and/or walking (e.g. teaching, retail, hospitality, building etc) contributes to this condition, especially when standing on hard surfaces like concrete floors. Last, but not least unsupportive
footwear makes our feet roll in more than they should.
Not all foot injuries affecting runners are necessarily down to a particular running gait; it is rarely that simple to diagnose how a foot problem developed . Simply being an overpronator does not
mean that a foot injury has been caused by the running gait and it could be due to a number of factors. However mild to severe overpronators tend to be at a higher risk of developing musculoskeletal
problems due to the increased stresses and strains which are placed on the body when the foot does not move in an optimum manner. The following injuries are frequently due to overpronation of the
feet. Tarsal tunnel syndrome. Shin splints. Anterior compartment syndrome. Plantar fasciitis. Achilles tendonitis. Bunions. Sesamoiditis. Stress fractures. Back and hip pain. Ankle pain.
You can test for pronation by looking at the leg and foot from the back. Normally you can see the Achilles Tendon run straight down the leg into the heel. If the foot is pronated, the tendon will run
straight down the leg, but when it lies on the heel it will twist outward. This makes the inner ankle bone much more prominent than the outer ankle bone.
Non Surgical Treatment
Your podiatrist will look at your current footwear to ensure that it is both well-fitted and possessed of adequate cushioning to protect your feet. Firm heel support is advised for over-pronators,
and a good fit is important to ensure that the foot as a whole is well supported as instability can exacerbate the existing problems caused by over-pronation.
Massage and stretch the calves to increase dorsiflexion at the foot/ankle. Dorsiflexion is the bending at the ankle. By improving the dorsiflexion, one will have more flexibility at the ankle, which
will allow the foot to over-pronate less. Massage the IT Band with a foam roller or tennis ball to quiet down the tightness throughout this part of the leg. The IT Band attaches from the glute
maximus and runs down the side of the leg into the knee area. When the IT Band is tight it will accelerate the force of the leg moving inward, which will cause the foot to move inward as well. It is
often that tightness through the IT Band that promotes over-pronation. Decreasing over-pronation, which is very prominent in runners, will help add endurance, speed and efficiency to your run and
ultimately place less stress on your body.