Over Pronation

Definition

Pronation is a normal and desired biomechanical function of the foot that helps our bodies absorb the repetitive shock forces during walking and running.  When your foot pronates there several things occurring with your biomechanics.

  1. Your ankles will roll in towards the midline or middle of your body.
  2. Your forefoot (metatarsal bones) will abduct or turn away from from the middle of your body.
  3. Your arch will flatten and the overall length of your foot will become longer.

These 3 actions that make up pronation all occur in a split second during running and walking and help to absorb a tremendous amount of shock that would otherwise travel up to the ankles, knees, hips and back.  Pronation can become a problem when there is an excessive range of motion and muscle and ligaments are over stretched to the point of injury.

Below, the left foot shows excessive pronation and the right foot is in the neutral positon. The right foot has been properly aligned with an orthotic. Excessive pronation similar to the foot on the left is a leading cause for heel pain.

The Pronated Foot

Causes

Over-pronation occurs when you are walking or running; your foot hits the ground, and the arch and the bones of your feet flatten out and roll inward. This can occur because of looseness in the ligaments or tendons that attach to your foot bones. You can be born with this type of problem, or it can result from injuries or overuse.

Treatment

Over-pronation and the problems that go along with it are best treated with arch supports called orthotics. Custom orthotics are usually made by taking a mold of your foot and can cost as much as $450 a pair. Most people should not start out with with custom orthotics. The logical alternative is to try a high quality over-the-counter orthotic first. (See The Ultimate Heel and Arch Orthotic)

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