Normal, healthy feet pronate! Normal pronation does not need to be ?corrected?. However, some people OVER-pronate. Those people need a shoe that supports their over-pronating foot to help guide the
foot and avoid injury. So, what does pronation mean exactly? Well, ?pronate? is the word used to describe the natural motion of the foot after it strikes the ground. When a person with a normally
pronating foot runs, the outside part of the heel strikes the ground. As the individual shifts the body weight forward, the foot rolls inward (pronates) and the entire foot comes into contact with
the ground. This allows the foot to properly support the body and absorb the impact forces. Motion continues forward and the peron pushes off (called ?toe off?) evenly from the front of the foot.
Someone who OVER-pronates strikes the ground with the heel in the same way, but the foot rolls too far inward (overpronation). This causes foot and ankle strain, as it does not allow the foot and
ankle to properly support the body nor to properly absorb the impact forces. As motion continues forward, they will toe-off more from the ball of her foot. Runners who overpronate are susceptible to
foot, ankle and knee problems if they don't wear a shoe that properly supports the motion of their feet.
There has been some speculation as to whether arch height has an effect on pronation. After conducting a study at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Maggie Boozer suggests that people with
higher arches tend to pronate to a greater degree. However, the generally accepted view by professionals is that the most pronation is present in those with lower arch heights. To complicate matters,
one study done by Hylton Menz at the University of Western Sydney-Macarthur suggests that the methods for measuring arch height and determining whether someone is ?flat-footed? or ?high-arched? are
unreliable. He says, ?For this reason, studies investigating the relationship between static arch height motion of the rearfoot have consistently found that such a classification system is a poor
predictor of dynamic rearfoot function.
People with overpronation may suffer from pain in the knees, hips, and low back. Overpronation itself does not necessarily cause any other symptoms but is a contributing factor of many foot
conditions such as Plantar Facsiitis, Heel Spur Syndrome, Posterior Tibialis Tendon Rupture or Tendonitis, Hallux Valgus, Bunion Deformities, Metatarsalgia, Hallux Limitus or Hallux Rigidus, Hammer
Toes, and Morton?s Neuroma.
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
When you see the doctor, he or she will likely perform a complete examination of your feet and watch you walk. The doctor will need to take x-rays to determine the cause of your flat feet. In some
cases, further imaging may be needed, especially if your symptoms are severe and sudden in nature. Once you are properly diagnosed, your doctor will create an appropriate treatment plan. There are
several options to correct overpronation, such as orthotics. In many cases, overpronation can be treated with non-surgical methods and over-the-counter orthotics. In severe cases, however,
custom-made orthotics may work better. Orthotics provide arch support and therefore prevent collapse of the arch with weight bearing. They are made of materials such as spongy rubber or hard plastic.
Your doctor will also want to examine your footwear to ensure they fit properly and offer enough medial support. Extra support and stability can be achieved with footwear that has a firm heel
counter. If you are experiencing pain, you should be able to use over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen to relieve symptoms.
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.