Overpronating is a term that is thrown around loosely, whether it be a clinician?s office (PT, Ortho Doc, Podiatrist), in print publication, online, or at your local shoe shop.Being classified as an
overpronator is fairly subjective. There?s no criteria to classify you as a runner who overpronates. Pronation is completely normal. Pronation allows your foot to unlock and distribute force up the
chain (leg). Pronation that fails to occur, whether it be due to an orthotic, bony structure (high arch), or motion control shoe, may actually increase ground reaction forces (impact). It should make
sense, too. Blocking your foot from pronating disengages the first anatomical system for absorbing impact forces. ?Over? insinuates that you pronate too much, but who gets to determine what?s
considered normal? We have values that are deemed ?normal,? but varying foot structures complicate the situation. Varying degrees of high, neutral, and low arches all affect this ?normal? pronation
number. ?Normal? pronation numbers will simply be out of reach for rigid arches, while flexible feet with surpass the numbers. To dilute the situation further, your strength, habits, and flexibility
can all influence how much you pronate.
There are many biomechanical issues that can contribute to excessive pronation, including weak foot intrinsic muscles, limited ankle dorsiflexion mobility and calf flexibility, weak ankle invertor
muscles (e.g. posterior tibialis), weak forefoot evertor muscles (peroneus longus), poor hip strength and control, Anterior pelvic tilting, heel InversionIn a person who overpronates, the heel bone
goes into an everted position meaning that it turns out away from the midline of the body. The opposite motion of eversion is inversion. Inversion is a motion that needs to be controlled to prevent
the foot from excessively pronating.
Due to the laxity of the soft tissue structures of the foot, and the fact that the joints are not held together properly, the bones of the feet shift. When this occurs, the muscles that 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. This twisting of these muscles will cause 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). The problems we see in the feet, which are due
to over-pronation include bunions, heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, fallen and painful arches, hammertoes, metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain), and calluses.
People who overpronate have flat feet or collapsed arches. You can tell whether you overpronate by wetting your feet and standing on a dry, flat surface. If your footprint looks complete, you
probably overpronate. Another way to determine whether you have this condition is to simply look at your feet when you stand. If there is no arch on the innermost part of your sole, and it touches
the floor, you likely overpronate. The only way to truly know for sure, however, is to be properly diagnosed by a foot and ankle specialist.
Non Surgical Treatment
Get a gait analysis of your running style, this will highlight if you overpronate, oversupinate or have a neutral gait. Most podiatrists, physio's and sports therapists will offer this service, as do
some specialist sports shops. Find a clinic. If you overpronate, get orthotics with extra medial support. Many running shoes have a harder material on the inside of the midsole (the thick hard foam
part of the running shoe). This means the inside of the shoe will be compressed less under load and support the inside of the foot preventing it from rolling in or flattening. For people with
considerable overpronation, another option is to have an orthotic device fitted. Orthotic insoles come in many types and prices. Some are pre-molded and can be bought off the shelf. These are ok for
the majority of problem feet. However some cases may require specially casted orthotics from a relevant sports injury therapist or podiatrist.
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