To understand "overpronation" it's important to first understand pronation. Pronation is a normal function of the foot. It is the inward motion of the ankle bone and outward motion of the rest of the
foot bones, which occurs naturally when the foot hits the ground and weight is applied. Pronation is a good thing; it cushions the foot and the entire body during the walking cycle. It keeps the foot
and ankles protected from hard impact and an uneven ground surface. Overpronation occurs when too much pronation is present. In other words, overpronation occurs when the inward motion of the ankle
bone is excessive and goes past the healthy point necessary for its intended functions. This excessive motion is caused by a misalignment between the ankle bone and the hindfoot bones. It creates an
imbalance of forces and weight distribution in the foot that propagates throughout the entire body. Over time, this functional imbalance causes repetitive damage to joints, ligaments and bone
structures. Left untreated, overpronation can lead to foot ailments such as bunions, heel pain (plantar faciitis), hammertoes, etc. Furthermore, the excessive motion in the foot can travel up the
body and cause knee, hip and lower back pain.
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.
Because pronation is a twisting of the foot, all of the muscles and tendons which run from the leg and ankle into the foot will be twisted. In over-pronation, resulting laxity of the soft tissue
structures of the foot and loosened joints cause the bones of the feet shift. When this occurs, the muscles which attach to these bones must also shift, or twist, in order to attach to these bones.
The strongest and most important muscles that attach to our foot bones come from our lower leg. So, as these muscles course down the leg and across the ankle, they must twist to maintain their proper
attachments in the foot. Injuries due to poor biomechanics and twisting of these muscles due to over-pronation include: shin splints, Achilles Tendonitis, generalized tendonitis, fatigue, muscle
aches and pains, cramps, ankle sprains, and loss of muscular efficiency (reducing walking and running speed and endurance). Foot problems due to over-pronation include: bunions, heel spurs, plantar
fasciitis, fallen and painful arches, hammer toes, and calluses.
When you overpronate your foot rolls inwards causing the lower leg to rotate inwards too. It's thought that this increases stress on the soft tissues of the lower leg causing pain and inflammation,
or more commonly known as shin splints.
Non Surgical Treatment
Although there is no actual cure for over-pronation it is possible to correct or at least reduce this problem. In order to restore our normal foot function an 'orthotic' or orthotic insole device is
placed inside the shoes. Orthotics are designed to realign the foot and ankle bones to their natural position. This in turn restores our normal foot function and it helps alleviate not only foot
problems but also ailments in other parts of the body i.e. the legs, knees and lower back. In addition to wearing an orthotic, it is recommended to wear supportive shoes, like good quality athletic
footwear with a firm heel counter and sufficient flexibility in the forefoot area.
With every step we take, we place at least half of our body weight on each foot (as we walk faster, or run, we can exert more than twice our body weight on each foot). As this amount of weight is
applied to each foot there is a significant shock passed on to our body. Custom-made orthotics will absorb some of this shock, helping to protect our feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back.