The term “pronation” actually simply refers a particular type of rotation that our hands and feet do when we turn them outward rather than inward.
However, in the medical and fitness community, the term “foot pronation”–also sometimes called “overpronation” in extreme cases–refers to an unwanted outward turning of the foot that occurs when running, standing or walking. It can contribute to muscular under- and over-development and cause pain for athletes and non-athletes alike unless it’s corrected.
What Is Foot Pronation or Overpronation?
Someone with pronated or overpronated feet will experience a tilt of the foot and ankle rather than having the foot lying flat and the ankle being in alignment with the leg. The ankle will tilt on the inside toward the ground, and on the outside it will tilt upward. The foot may lean at a bit of an angle outward.
Underpronation occurs with high arches. The heel initially meets the ground correctly but the foot fails to roll inward at all. This means that the body weight is concentrated on the outer portion of the foot with a dangerous amount of stress placed on the smaller toes when pushing off the ground.
Overpronation is one of the most common foot problems. Once again, the outer edge of the heel meets the ground, but the foot then rolls inward more than fifteen degrees. This is commonly seen in people with flat arches. This problem can cause twisted ankles and poor stabilization of the body when walking or running.
Common Problems Associated with Pronated and Overpronated Feet
Someone with feet that are pronated too much may have “knock-knees” or calves that tend to angle inward, and they will likely have flat arches due to the angle of the foot.
Depending on the degree of pronation, and how athletic the person is, these conditions may also cause athletic injuries like shin splints, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, piriformis syndrome and general pain in the legs, feet and knees.
What Can You Do If You Have Pronated or Overpronated Feet?
Podiatrists and athletic specialists recommend correction excessive pronation of the feet with shoes that offer strong support of the ankle on the inside of the shoe. Regular running and walking shoes don’t counteract the pronation action of the foot and ankle, and shoes specially designed for the purpose of correcting too much pronation are required.
You can find specialists who carry these kinds of shoes, and you can also find them online. If you can’t afford or find a specialist, commercially made shoes that offer “extra support” or “maximum support” would be best for you.
Foot Exercises Can Help Too
Specialists recommend doing exercises that use the spring action of the foot and ankle and they suggest performing exercises barefoot rather than in shoes. Recommended exercises involve stretching of the muscles and tendons of the ankle area, which become tight and inflexible when feet pronate excessively.
Find the Right Shoes
With overpronation, it is imperative to find shoes that fit the individual’s style of walking. He should search for shoes that have high quality arch supports. Reebok has several types of these. However, New Balance has the best line of proven shoes for this problem. They have a patented Rollbar technology that corrects overpronation and evenly redistributes the weight of the body along the entire foot.
New Balance’s exclusive “Rollbar” technology is called for. Rear Foot Control is mandatory. You may also find a shoe with TS2 or Stabilicore technology combined with a Stability Web (stability running).
Finding the right shoes can be a challenge when you experience an over-pronation of the foot while walking or running. This condition can be identified by the foot rolling inward more than usual. The inward rolling of the foot can cause pain or discomfort while walking since the body isn’t properly stabilized. There are some shoes that can help create a more normal pronation of the foot, however.
The simplest way to identify over-pronation of the foot is to watch the way that your foot moves when you want. In general, the first and second toes will bear most of your weight as you step up and the foot will roll inwards significantly. You may also notice some problems or pain in the ankle.
There are also some other foot characteristics that you may notice, such as having a flat foot or very low arch. You may also notice that the outer edge of the foot is lifted slightly while stepping, which indicates that the foot has too much of an inward roll. Finding a shoe that supports and aligns the foot properly ensures comfort. New Balance shoes offer a wide range of features that aid you in finding the comfort you need while walking or running.
In treating pronation of the foot it’s a good idea to opt for shoes such as those offered by New Balance, which includes the exclusive Rollbar technology to improve foot placement. New Balance also offers other features that are beneficial to those with over-pronation, including Rear Foot Control, Stabilicore and Stability Web. New Balance shoes features ensure you are comfortable running or walking with each feature.
Every individual should be aware of his particular style of walking or running in order to prevent future medical problems. A great way to do this is to consult a specialist at a shoe store or clinic. A simple way to determine this at home is to wet one’s feet and then walk on a cement surface. The arch of the foot should create a blank space approximately equivalent to half the width of the foot. If it does not, specialty shoes are highly recommended.