About three out of four people either overpronate or underpronate but the majority of us are not aware of our foot type and how it has contributed to the well-being of not just our feet but our entire body. Over the long term, overpronation could increase the risk of sports injuries as well as lead to muscle and joint problems.
What is Overpronation?
Overpronation is a foot misalignment that is recognized when the foot and the ankle roll to the inside too much and the arch collapses and remains flat for too long. This causes your weight to be unevenly distributed on the foot near the big toe, instead of balanced at the center.
What Problems Can Overpronation Cause?
Many injuries and foot problems are associated with overpronation over the long term due to prolonged stress in the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the foot, as well as the shin of the lower leg and the knee. Some of these problems include:
- Achilles tendonitis
- Anterior compartment syndrome
- Heel spurs
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin Splints
- Stress factures
- Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
How Do I Know If I Am An Overpronator?
There are a few ways where you can check your pronation on your own:
- When you are standing, check if your feet have a clear arch on the inside of the foot. If the inside of the foot is almost touching the floor, then you are most likely overpronated.
- Ask someone to check from behind you for signs of overpronation, such as ankles turned in or standing in a “knock-kneed” position
- Check your running shoes. If the most worn out part is on the inside of the sole, you are likely to be overpronating
- Wet your feet and walk on a floor surface that will show your wet footprint. Look at your footprints. A normal foot will show the arch of the foot leaving a footprint about half the width of the foot. If there is a lot more footprint, then you are likely overpronated
However, the best and most accurate way is to seek a podiatrist’s assessment, as it is not just the amount of overpronation that matters but also when the pronation happens and how long it stays in the gait cycle.
Treatment and Correction
Supportive orthotics have been used widely and effectively in addressing the problems presented by overpronation. They support the arch and help to control the overpronation via a variety of ways, such as medial rearfoot posting that can alleviate the stress from the pronated spot. Arch supports for controlling overpronation are available both custom made and pre-made. Pre-made ones may be sufficient for many but do look for inserts that are more rigid as they will be much more effective.
In addition, shoes that provide stability, motion control and support for overpronation are widely available. For those with moderate overpronation, stability shoes are designed to provide medial arch support and adequate cushioning. Motion control shoes, on the other hand, are best suited for those who overpronated to a higher extent.
Given sufficient early attention and suitable protective footwear and orthotics insoles, overpronation can be managed efficiently and thus avoiding many potential injuries.