To understand "overpronation" it's important to first understand pronation. Pronation is a normal function of the foot. It is the inward motion of the ankle bone and outward motion of the rest of the
foot bones, which occurs naturally when the foot hits the ground and weight is applied. Pronation is a good thing; it cushions the foot and the entire body during the walking cycle. It keeps the foot
and ankles protected from hard impact and an uneven ground surface. Overpronation occurs when too much pronation is present. In other words, overpronation occurs when the inward motion of the ankle
bone is excessive and goes past the healthy point necessary for its intended functions. This excessive motion is caused by a misalignment between the ankle bone and the hindfoot bones. It creates an
imbalance of forces and weight distribution in the foot that propagates throughout the entire body. Over time, this functional imbalance causes repetitive damage to joints, ligaments and bone
structures. Left untreated, overpronation can lead to foot ailments such as bunions, heel pain (plantar faciitis), hammertoes, etc. Furthermore, the excessive motion in the foot can travel up the
body and cause knee, hip and lower back pain.
Unless there is a severe, acute injury, overpronation develops as a gradual biomechanical distortion. Several factors contribute to developing overpronation, including tibialis posterior weakness,
ligament weakness, excess weight, pes planus (flat foot), genu valgum (knock knees), subtalar eversion, or other biomechanical distortions in the foot or ankle. Tibialis posterior weakness is one of
the primary factors leading to overpronation. Pronation primarily is controlled by the architecture of the foot and eccentric activation of the tibialis posterior. If the tibialis posterior is weak,
the muscle cannot adequately slow the natural pronation cycle.
Symptoms can manifest in many different ways. The associated conditions depend on the individual lifestyle of each patient. Here is a list of some of the conditions associated with over Pronation.
Hallux Abducto Valgus (bunions). Hallux Rigidus (stiff 1st toe). Arch Pain. Heel Pain (plantar Facsitus). Metatarsalgia (ball of the foot pain). Ankle Sprains. Shin Splints. Achilles Tendonitis.
Osteochondrosis. Knee Pain. Corns & Calluses. Flat Feet. Hammer Toes.
Look at your soles of your footwear: Your sneaker/shoes will display heavy wear marks on the outside portion of the heel and the inside portion above the arch up to the top of the big toe on the
sole. The "wet-foot" test is another assessment. Dip the bottom of your foot in water and step on to a piece of paper (brown paper bag works well). Look at the shape of your foot. If you have a lot
of trouble creating an arch, you likely overpronate. An evaluation from a professional could verify your foot type.
Non Surgical Treatment
If pronation is diagnosed before the age of five it can usually be treated in such a manner that the bones and joints will be aligned properly as growth continues. This may prevent the arch from
collapsing, as well as allowing the muscles of the leg to enter the foot without twisting. With proper and early treatment, the foot will not turn out at the ankle, and the child?s gait will improve.
Treatment for pronation in children may include: night braces, custom-made orthotics, and exercises. These treatments usually continue until growth is complete, and then the adult may need to wear
custom-made orthotics to prevent the pronation from returning (the foot, as every other part of our body, tends to return to its original form if preventive measures are not taken). One side note:
frequently, pediatricians will wait too long, hoping that the child will ?outgrow? the problem. By the time they realize that the child?s feet will not improve, it is too late to change the foot. In
these cases, custom-made orthotics is used to prevent the pronation from becoming worse.
Subtalar Arthroereisis. The ankle and hindfoot bones/midfoot bones around the joint are fused, locking the bones in place and preventing all joint motion. This may also be done in combination with
fusion at other joints. This is a very aggressive option usually reserved for extreme cases where no joint flexibility is present and/or the patient has severe arthritic changes in the joint.