What Is Pronation?
Pronation is a normal movement of the foot when it rolls or tilts inwards. This movement occurs soon after the foot contacts the ground and causes the muscles to relax and the joints to loosen. Pronation has to happen in order for your foot to adapt to different terrains and for shock absorption. Over pronation, however is not normal and it happens when the foot rolls in too much causing the ligaments and muscles to become over stretched and the joints then have to work at unnatural angles. This can lead to a lot of discomfort and many painful conditions which you will read about below. Over pronation treatment is important as the strain placed on ligaments, joints and muscles may give rise to permanent deformities and other issues.
How Can I Tell If I Have Over Pronation?
Usually you might experience some pain, discomfort or other symptoms in the feet, knees, legs, hips or your lower back. Over pronation can be seen when you look at a person from behind while they are standing and you will notice their heels tilt inward forming a J shape. You may also see the arch of the foot collapse or flatten (flat feet) and sometimes a â€œbulgeâ€ is noticed on the inner side (medial aspect) of the foot just above the arch. Wear patterns on your shoes can also give you a clue as to whether you have over pronation that may require treatment. If you wear out the heels of your shoes very quickly or wear patterns are concentrated on the inside of the sole of the shoe, you may have over pronation. Your old shoes may also lean inwards excessively if you place them on a flat surface and look at them from the back.
How Does Over Pronation Affect Your Feet & Body?
Over pronation causes the joints of the foot to unlock and the foot becomes unstable at a time when it should be stable, then the muscles in your feet and legs become over stretched and have to act very quickly in an attempt to stabilise the foot. This causes too much stress on the muscles and ligaments and they respond by tightening up and weakening. This unnatural angle at which the joints are now working leads to them becoming jarred or locked in these abnormal positions. Over pronation also causes the leg to rotate inwards due to the resultant action on the ankle joint, this in turn leads to the knee and thigh also rotating inward and ultimately the knee and hip joints are also working at unnatural angles. If one foot over pronates more than the other that foot will collapse more and be lower to the ground in relation to the other foot. This causes one limb to be lower than the other limb (it looks as if though it is shorter) which can cause strain on your lower back and cause a scoliosis if left untreated for a long time.
What Are Some Of The Common Conditions That May Be Associated With Over Pronation?
Below is a list of some common conditions that are often associated with over pronation:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Heel Pain
- Achilles tendon problems
- Stiff big toe (Hallux limitus)
- Heel spurs
- Bunions (Hallux valgus)
- Arch Pain
- Knee pain
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the ball of the foot(metatarsalgia or Morton’s neuroma)
- Shin splints
These are just some of the conditions that may be related to over pronation.
Over Pronation Treatment
There is a variety of treatments available for over pronation and the Podiatrists at George St Podiatry usually use a combination of these treatments. Below are some of the treatment protocols that may be used:
- Strapping/Taping – Taping the foot in a certain way provides support for the foot as well as stability and may be used in acute cases or as a first line treatment
- Exercises – These are used to strengthen certain muscles in order to achieve better foot function
- Stretching protocols – This help in loosening tight muscles and ligaments to prevent further strain
- Joint manual mobilisation – This helps joints that may have become stiff or fixed to loosen up and in turn allowing for better foot function.
- Orthotics – These shoe inserts prevent over pronation from happening, support the feet and give your feet the ability to function at optimum levels
Speak to one of the Podiatrists at George St Podiatry if you would like to know more about over pronation treatment.