Disclaimer: The following information is intended for reference purposes only and does not substitute advice or treatment from a medical professional.
When we talk about natural movement of the foot when walking or running, we’re talking about the pronation of the foot.
Pronation is a normal part of our gait cycle, and it’s what allows us to walk on uneven surfaces without falling over.
It also helps distribute weight evenly across the body during everyday activities such as walking and running.
However, if you have an excessive amount of pronation in your feet, this can cause pain and injury. This article will explain how to fix overpronation so that you can enjoy a more comfortable life.
What Is Pronation?
To understand why overpronation occurs, let’s first look at how the foot moves during the gait cycle.
The gait cycle consists of three phases: stance, single limb support (also known as swing), and double limb support.
During the stance phase, the heel hits the ground first. Then the ball of the foot rolls forward until it touches the ground. Finally, the toes roll back up towards the ankle.
This rolling motion is called eversion, which means turning outwards. Eversion is necessary because the foot needs to be flat on the ground to push off with each step.
Without eversion, the foot would slide backwards, causing the person to lose balance and fall.
In addition to eversion, there are two other movements that occur during the stance phase. These movements are abduction and adduction.
Abducting refers to moving the foot away from the midline of the body, while adducting refers to bringing the foot closer to the midline.
Abduction and adduction allow the foot to move laterally, allowing the foot to roll into a position where it can touch the ground.
Without these lateral motions, the foot wouldn’t be able to roll onto the ground.
If the foot doesn’t roll enough, then it won’t be flat enough to push off properly. This causes the knee to bend excessively, which can lead to injuries like runner’s knee.
What Is Overpronation?
Overpronation is a condition where the foot rolls inward too much during walking or running. This causes pain and discomfort in the lower back, knees, hips, and ankles.
Overpronators usually experience pain after long periods of standing or sitting.
They may even feel pain while they are sleeping. If left untreated, overpronation can lead to serious injuries like plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the fascia), Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and stress fractures.
Causes Of Overpronation
There are many factors that can contribute to overpronation including genetics, muscle weakness, poor posture, lack of strength in the muscles surrounding the ankle joint, and tightness of the calf muscles.
Other causes include wearing shoes with improper fit and/or high heels, which force the toes into a position that makes them turn outwards.
In addition, certain medications can make the problem worse by weakening the muscles around the joints.
Fixing overpronation can be a long and difficult process, especially if the condition has been untreated for some time.
The biomechanics of a foot that overpronates have to compensate for this abnormal movement.
If this compensation has been going on for a long time, the foot mechanics have adapted to the overpronation.
This adaptation is what leads to the serious injuries mentioned above. Whilst the foot has adapted to the overpronation, it is not a natural state for your foot.
To correct the overpronation, you need to change the way your foot moves through its gait cycle.
You do this by strengthening the muscles that support the arch and changing the way the bones move within the foot.
Another way to do this is by wearing corrective orthopedic insoles. Everyone overpronates slightly differently, so the best advice we could give you is to see a specialist.
This specialist should do an analysis of your gait and foot movement.
Once they’ve done this, they’ll be able to see how your foot biomechanics are out of alignment, and give you insoles which can help to correct it.
How To Tell If You Overpronate
One of the best ways to determine whether you overpronate is to examine the bottom of your shoes.
If there is a lot of wear and tear around the inside sole towards the ball of the foot, then chances are you overpronate.
Another way to tell is to take the same pair of shoes and place them on a flat surface. If the shoes look like they’re tilting inwards, this is because the shoes have molded to the way you walk.
The Foot Anatomy
Your foot consists of three bones, the tibia (shin), talus (ankle bone) and calcaneus (heel). The arch of the foot is formed by these three bones, which are held together by ligaments and muscles.
There are two arches in each foot; one at the front of the foot and one at the back. These arches help support your entire body while you walk, run or stand.
When standing still, your ankle joint is slightly bent. As you begin to move forward, your ankle straightens out and then bends again as you push off with your heel.
In between those moments, your foot pronates (rolls outward) as your leg swings forward.
When you’re walking, your foot rolls inward and downward as your knee flexes. It also tilts inward when you’re standing up from a seated position.
This rolling action helps absorb shock and allows your foot to roll smoothly under your weight.
If your foot rolls too far outward, it’s called excessive pronation. Pronation occurs because of weak muscles and tendons that hold the bones in place. Excessive pronunciation can cause pain and injury.
Pronation is most common in people who wear flat-soled shoes such as sneakers or running shoes. Shoes with a low heel height will increase your risk of developing overpronation.
High heels and other types of footwear that put pressure directly on the ball of the foot may also contribute to the development of overpronation.
Overpronation is a very common problem among runners. Unfortunately, many runners ignore their symptoms until they become severely injured.
It is important to seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- Pain during exercise
- Aching joints
- Stiffness after exercising
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of balance
- Decreased coordination
- Ankle sprains
- Achilles tendon problems
- Knee problems
- Hip problems
- Back problems
It’s also important to note that some of these symptoms may be caused by another condition. For example, swelling around the ankles can be caused by high blood pressure.
If you have any concerns about your health, please consult your doctor.