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What's Over-Pronation?

what's over-pronation

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Pronation is the natural and necessary process that helps to provide shock absorption as you walk or run. The foot pronates as weight is transferred from the heel to the forefoot, causing the foot to roll inwards and the arch to flatten. The term over-pronation, however, is used to describe a foot that rolls in more than it should.

Why does it matter?

The main issue with over-pronation is that it can lead to injury, especially in athletes and specifically, runners. Typically, when a foot pronates, the lower leg, knee and thigh all rotate internally. Over-pronation, however, exaggerates this inward rotation and increases the stress being placed on the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the foot, as well as the shin and knee. Sounds painful, right? Over-pronation can lead to several injuries, including shin splints, plantar fasciitis, bunions, and Achilles tendonitis, among others.

How do I know if I over-pronate?

There are a few ways to figure out if you suffer from over-pronation. The easiest method is to check your arches in the mirror while standing. If you don't see a clear arch on the outside of the foot, then your feet are over-pronated (aka "flat"). Another way to test this is to examine your running shoes. If you notice increased wear on the inside of the sole, over-pronation may be to blame.

The wet foot test is a common and simple method for determining arch type, so if you can't tell just by looking, consider giving it a try:

  1. Wet your feet and walk several steps on dry pavement.
  2. Examine the footprints left behind.
the wet foot test

A "normal" foot will leave a print of the heel that is connected to the forefoot by a strip approximately half the width of the foot on the outside of the sole. An over-pronated foot, however, will likely leave a print that shows little distinction between the rear and forefoot.

Still not sure? The best way to determine if you over-pronate is to visit a podiatrist who can conduct a full gait analysis and provide medical advice to best suit your foot needs.

What is the treatment for over-pronation?

If you and your doctor resolve that your feet are in fact over-pronated, finding the right shoes with extra medical support should help prevent them from rolling in or flattening. Look for running shoes that have a harder material on the inside of the midsole (the thick, hard foam part), as this will cut down on the amount of compression being placed on and provide additional support to the inside of your foot. Orthotic devices are another option for those suffering from severe over-pronation. For many people, pre-molded insoles will provide that extra layer of support, but in some cases, custom-casted orthotics may be the answer.

Again, a podiatrist will be able to most accurately diagnose any foot-related issues and point you in the right direction when it comes to choosing between the various treatment options. If you're looking for some at-home remedies, be sure to check out our Tips to Manage Foot Pain and get some relief from every day foot pain with 7 easy steps!

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Frequently Asked Questions:

  Q. What is Plantar Fasciitis?

A. One of the most common foot ailments, it's helpful to identify what is causing strain to effectively treat plantar fasciitis. Here's what to look for.

Read more here

  Q. What is the Plantar Fascia?

A. Find out why this fibrous tissue is so important to your feet, and how overuse can become a serious pain.

Read more here

  Q. What is the Wet Foot Test?

A. Take this two-step test to find out your arch type!

Read more here

  Q. What is Pronation?

A. Pronation is the natural process that helps to provide shock absorption as you walk or run. Learn how it works.

Read more here

  Q. What is Over-Pronation?

A. A While a certain amount of pronation is necessary, over-pronation can lead to painful injuries, like these...

Read more here

  Q. What is Supination?

A. Supination is a natural process that allows us to walk and run properly. Learn how it works.

Read more here

  Q. What are Shin Splints?

A. While "shin splints" is not a medical diagnosis, the discomfort being experienced is likely indicative of one.

Read more here

  Q. What is a Bunion?

A. We've all heard our grandmothers talk about them before, but what actually is a bunion?

Read more here

  Q. What is Achilles tendonitis?

A. The Achilles tendon is your best friend when it comes to walking, running, and jumping, so inflammation of it can be a real pain. Find out more.

Read more here

  Q. What is Metatarsalgia?

A. Metatarsalgia is a fancy word for pain in the ball of the foot. Find out what causes this discomfort, and how to treat it.

Read more here

  Q. What are Flat Feet?

A. Fallen arches, also knows as flat feet, refers to an abnormal foot arch, and may be the reason for your foot pain.

Read more here

  Q. What is Arthritis?

A. Find out how arthritis, including gout, can cause foot pain, especially in the big toe.

Read more here

  Q. What is Gout?

A. A form of arthritis, gout most commonly occurs in the big toe. Learn more about what causes this inflammatory condition.

Read more here

  Q. What is Hammer Toe?

A. Often caused by wearing tight shoes, a hammer toe is a painful abnormality. Here's what to look for.

Read more here

  Q. What is Claw Toe?

A. Often a result of nerve damage, a claw toe is a painful abnormality. Here's what to look for.

Read more here

  Q. What is an Ingrown Toenail?

A. Ingrown toenails are a pain, and can be caused by injury, ill-fitting shoes, or improper foot care. Learn how to avoid them.

Read more here

  Q. What's a heel counter?

A. The heel counter controls the foot's pronation, and is key to providing foot and ankle support. Find out what to look for.

Read more here

  Q. What's a shoe's sole?

A. Every shoe has a sole, which provides protection from the ground with each step. Learn what to look for to get the support you need.

Read more here

  Q. What's a rocker sole shoe?

A. A rocker sole shoe (aka a rocker bottom shoe) is a type of shoe that has a thicker sole with a rounded heel. Learn more about the two types of rocker soles.

Read more here