Overpronation is a term which is used more and more frequently by runners and exercisers these days, but what is overpronation and is it bad? Overpronation is excessive pronation of the feet when
walking and running, and it can place people at risk of developing foot problems. Knowing the degree to which you pronate is important in order to select the correct footwear and exercise shoes. If
you pronate excessively you could be placing an excessive strain on your feet, however overpronators can also place an excessive strain on the ankles, legs, knees, hips and lower back. Runners often
claim to be an overpronator or even an underpronator or supinator. These terms may very well be viewed in a negative light when they really are not a problem at all. On the other hand people may be
overpronators and not even know about it and could be at a high risk of developing a musculoskeletal problem.
Excess stress on the inner surface of the foot can cause injury and pain in the foot and ankle. Repeated rotational forces through the shin, knee, thigh and pelvis also place additional strain on the
muscles, tendons and ligaments of the lower leg.
Overpronation causes alterations in proper muscle recruitment patterns leading to tightness in the outside of the ankle (lateral gastrocnemius, soleus, and peroneals). This tightness can lead to
weakness in the opposing muscles such as the medial gastrocnemius, anterior tibialis, and posterior tibialis. If these muscles are weak, they will not be able to keep the knee in proper alignment,
causing the valgus position. All this tightness and weakness can cause pain within the ankle, calf, and knee region. And it can send imbalance and pain all the way up to the upper back, if deep core
strength is lacking and can't hold the pelvis in neutral.
If you cannot afford to get a proper gait analysis completed, having someone observe you on a treadmill from behind will give you an idea if you are an overpronator. It is possible to tell without
observing directly whether you are likely to be an overpronator by looking at your foot arches. Check your foot arch height by standing in water and then on a wet floor or piece of paper which will
show your footprint. If your footprints show little to no narrowing in the middle, then you have flat feet or fallen arches. This makes it highly likely that you will overpronate to some degree when
running. If you have low or fallen arches, you should get your gait checked to see how much you overpronate, and whether you need to take steps to reduce the level to which you overpronate. Another
good test is to have a look at the wear pattern on an old pair of trainers. Overpronators will wear out the outside of the heel and the inside of the toe more quickly than other parts of the shoe. If
the wear is quite even, you are likely to have a neutral running gait. Wear primarily down the outside edge means that you are a supinator. When you replace your running shoes you may benefit from
shoes for overpronation. Motion control or stability running shoes are usually the best bet to deal with overpronation.
Non Surgical Treatment
Supportive orthotics in the shoe is a method commonly implemented to treat many common running injuries associated with pronation. An advantage of orthotics is that they often allow the sufferer to
continue to participate in athletic activity and avoid other treatment options that could be potentially costly and time consuming. Seventy-five percent of injured runners are successfully treated
with the prescription of orthoses. Orthotics are the most effective treatment for symptoms that develop from unusual biomechanics within the body such as overpronation, resulting in either great
improvement or complete healing of the injury in about half the cases.
Custom-made orthotics will reduce the twisting of the leg muscles as they enter the foot, by maintaining a normal alignment of the bones and joints of the foot. If the bones and joints are aligned
properly, by reducing the pronation, the muscles can run straight to their attachments in the foot, without twisting to get to these bones. This action of custom-made orthotics will reduce Achilles
Tendonitis shin splints; ankle, knee, hip, and lower back pain; and leg cramps. This action will also allow the leg muscles to work more efficiently, thus allowing you to walk and run with less