Normal, healthy feet pronate! Normal pronation does not need to be ?corrected?. However, some people OVER-pronate. Those people need a shoe that supports their over-pronating foot to help guide the foot and avoid injury. So, what does pronation mean exactly? Well, ?pronate? is the word used to describe the natural motion of the foot after it strikes the ground. When a person with a normally pronating foot runs, the outside part of the heel strikes the ground. As the individual shifts the body weight forward, the foot rolls inward (pronates) and the entire foot comes into contact with the ground. This allows the foot to properly support the body and absorb the impact forces. Motion continues forward and the peron pushes off (called ?toe off?) evenly from the front of the foot. Someone who OVER-pronates strikes the ground with the heel in the same way, but the foot rolls too far inward (overpronation). This causes foot and ankle strain, as it does not allow the foot and ankle to properly support the body nor to properly absorb the impact forces. As motion continues forward, they will toe-off more from the ball of her foot. Runners who overpronate are susceptible to foot, ankle and knee problems if they don't wear a shoe that properly supports the motion of their feet.
Generally fallen arches are a condition inherited from one or both parents. In addition, age, obesity, and pregnancy cause our arches to collapse. Being in a job that requires long hours of standing and/or walking (e.g. teaching, retail, hospitality, building etc) contributes to this condition, especially when standing on hard surfaces like concrete floors. Last, but not least unsupportive footwear makes our feet roll in more than they should.
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.
A quick way to see if you over-pronate is to look for these signs. While standing straight with bare feet on the floor, look so see if the inside of your arch or sole touches the floor. Take a look at your hiking or running shoes; look for wear on the inside of the sole. Wet your feet and walk on a surface that will show the foot mark. If you have a neutral foot you should see your heel connected to the ball of your foot by a mark roughly half of width of your sole. If you over-pronate you will see greater than half and up to the full width of your sole.
Non Surgical Treatment
No matter what the cause in your case, over pronation can be remedied in several ways. Those who are overweight should consider permanently losing weight to naturally alleviate pressure on the ligaments and heel of the foot. Also, you should consult a podiatrist to examine your posture and movement habits. You may be reinjuring yourself due to poor alignment without even knowing it. If you also have lower back problems, this could be a sign of over pronation as a result of misalignment.
Pronation forces us to bear most of our weight on the inner border of our feet. Custom-made orthotics gently redistributes the weight so that the entire foot bears its normal share of weight with each step we take. The foot will not twist out at the ankle, but will strike the ground normally when the orthotics is used. This action of the custom-made orthotics will help to prevent shin splints, ankle sprains, knee and hip pain, lower back pain, nerve entrapments, tendonitis, muscle aches, bunions, generalized fatigue, hammer toes, and calluses.