The shape and mechanics of our feet reduce the stress of walking or running. The feet roll outward or supinate whenever we walk or run to move us forward. And when they land on the ground, our feet roll inward or pronate for less impact.
Pronation while walking or running is normal, but some people tend to overpronate, which can affect the feet’s movements. In this article, we’ll look at what overpronation is and how you can correct it.
What is Overpronation?
Overpronation occurs when the arch of the foot collapses excessively downward or inward. It results in an overly pronated ankle and heel, which causes a looser foot. As the arch collapses, it strains the plantar fascia (the long tendons running along the bottom of the foot) and the other parts of the foot that can’t withstand the pressure.
What Causes Overpronation?
Generally, not walking or running with proper form can cause overpronation. In turn, a condition called flat feet develops, wherein your foot can have little to no arch.
Flat feet can start developing at one’s birth. But you may also develop the condition if you’re dealing with a foot-specific injury or performing an activity that may damage your feet. The following conditions and actions can result in flat feet or weakened arches:
- Inflammation or damage to the tendon
- Playing high-impact sports with a risk of sports injuries
- Arthritis that affect the cartilage and ligaments in the foot
- Injuries causing misaligned joints in the foot
- Nerve problems that keep you from detecting a collapsed arch
Pregnancy and lengthy runs or walks on hard surfaces can also cause overpronation.
What are the Signs of Overpronating Feet?
If you suspect you’re overpronating, check to see if the bottom of your shoes looks worn. Wear on the inside sole near the ball of the foot, and the big toe could mean you overpronate. Additionally, overpronating feet would cause your shoes to tilt inward if you view them on a flat surface.
Don’t forget to check your bare feet, as well. You may be overpronating if you see low arches or notice flat feet.
It’s also best to look at your shins for signs of overpronation. Follow the line of your bone from your knee to your ankle, and see if it goes inward. That line should run until the first or second toe. Otherwise, if it leads towards the inner portion of your foot, you may have overpronated feet.
Apart from the warning signs above, the following conditions and symptoms may come with overpronation:
This type of pain affects the part of the feet under, behind, or on the sides of the heel. Heel pain develops when you constantly put pressure on your heel or pound it.
Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of the plantar fascia. A low arch causes this condition, leading to overpronating feet.
Corns or Calluses
Corns and calluses are the build-ups of stiff, thick areas of skin that form anywhere on your body but often develop on your feet, hands, or fingers.
Corns are small, round, and hardened areas of skin over your toes or on their sides. They can be hard, soft, or tiny, like seeds. Meanwhile, calluses are hardened and thick patches of skin. You’ll usually see them on the bottom of your foot, specifically on areas like the heel and big toe.
If you have irritated skin or always rub and put pressure on your skin, corns and calluses may form. Your foot may also have them when you:
- Wear poorly fit, unsupportive shoes.
- Walk or run for long periods.
- Perform physical hobbies, play sports, or do tasks causing stress on your feet.
- Walk with improper posture.
Hip pain from overpronation can occur in or around the hip joint. In general, you may feel this pain in your groin or thigh.
Knee pain affects the knee. Left untreated, it can weaken your knee or make the joint unstable.
An overpronated foot may also hurt your lower back and alter how the structures within your leg work.
For example, your femur may rotate, triggering hip pain and inflammation of your lower back’s sacroiliac (SI) joints. The SI joints join your hip bones and a triangular bone between your lumbar spine and tailbone, known as the sacrum.
Hip pain and inflamed SI joints may eventually lead to back pain.
A toe that bends or curls downward is called a hammer toe. Any of your toes can develop this deformity, but the second or third toe often becomes a hammer toe.
Some people are born with this condition. However, patients can develop hammer toes if they have arthritis or wear unsupportive shoes.
How Do You Fix Overpronation?
If overpronation changes how your feet move, you can correct it with several methods. Here’s how you can correct overpronation naturally.
Buy Supportive Shoes
Wearing worn or incorrect shoes can lead to overpronating feet. And if you’re a runner, it’s one of the common mistakes to avoid. Supportive shoes are ideal for running and other activities where your feet always touch the ground.
When purchasing footwear, go for shoes with extra support and stability for less impact as your feet move. Specifically, your footwear should have these features:
- A durable and firm heel counter that limits the foot’s side-to-side movement
- A dense midsole to support your feet’s arches
- A broad base bearing the middle of the foot so the arch stays in place
You can also shop at a specialty walking or running shoe store. Choose a shop with equipment to help you check your gait. At some running shoe shops, you’ll see equipment revealing which part of your foot hits surfaces while walking. It may help you find shoes with the specific type of support you need.
Visit a Chiropractor or Physical Therapist
If you’re undergoing physical therapy, your PT may give you exercises to correct overpronation. They can increase support for the arches of your feet and surrounding muscles. Chiropractors can also correct postural changes that happen due to pronation issues. Here are some exercises you can do for overpronation:
- Stand upright with both feet flat on the floor.
- Step forward with one foot.
- Straighten your spine, bend your front leg, and push forward to shift weight to the foot you’ve put forward.
- Feel the stretch in your Achilles tendon and back leg.
- Stay in your position for 30 seconds.
- Change feet and repeat this exercise four times.
- Stand with both feet on the ground.
- Lift your heels up high. Hold for five seconds, then lower them.
- Repeat this exercise 15 to 20 times.
Tip: Try performing calf raises on a stair or exercise step.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Roll your body weight to the outer edges of your feet.
- Hold for several seconds, then return to the starting position.
Plantar Fascia Stretch
- Sit with one foot on the opposite knee.
- Lightly pull the toes upward toward the top of your foot. Let one hand hold your heel while the other holds your toes.
- Stay in your position for 10 seconds, then switch to the other side.
These shoe inserts help support the arches of your feet and reduce impact while walking. A chiropractor can provide custom orthotics to correct pronation. They’ll examine how you walk and, from there, recommend the best orthotics for your feet.
Manage Overpronating Feet Through Natural Treatment
We always pronate while walking or running. But if our feet overpronate, it can cause problems. Knowing how to correct overpronation can help you strengthen support for your feet’s arches to improve every step you make.
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