Simply put, over-pronation is an excessive or poorly timed pronation which is part of the regular stride. Pronation is when the foot rolls inwards and the arch compresses as part of your normal
walking motion. Pronation is necessary for shock absorption to transmit forces up and down our legs. When someone over-pronates, the foot rolls inwards to a greater degree and the arch flattens: this
causes the knee and hip to come out of alignment and reduces the function of all the bones in the feet.
Although there are many factors that can contribute to the development of these conditions, improper biomechanics of the body plays a large and detrimental role in the process. Of the many
biomechanical elements involved, foot and ankle function perhaps contribute the most to these aches and pains.
With over pronation, sufferers are most likely to experience pain through the arch of the foot. A lack of stability is also a common complaint. Over pronation also causes the foot to turn outward
during movement at the ankle, causing sufferers to walk along the inner portion of the foot. This not only can deliver serious pain through the heel and ankle, but it can also be the cause of pain in
the knees or lower back as well. This condition also causes the arch to sink which places stress on the bones, ligaments, and tendons throughout the foot. This may yield other common conditions of
foot pain such as plantar fasciitis and heel spurs.
To easily get an idea of whether a person overpronates, look at the position and condition of certain structures in the feet and ankles when he/she stands still. When performing weight-bearing
activities like walking or running, muscles and other soft tissue structures work to control gravity's effect and ground reaction forces to the joints. If the muscles of the leg, pelvis, and feet are
working correctly, then the joints in these areas such as the knees, hips, and ankles will experience less stress. However, if the muscles and other soft tissues are not working efficiently, then
structural changes and clues in the feet are visible and indicate habitual overpronation.
Non Surgical Treatment
Solutions typically presented will include physical therapy sessions, prolonged prescription drug regimens, occasionally non-traditional approaches like holistic medicine and acupuncture. These
options can provide symptom relief in the short term for some patients. However, these treatment methods cannot correct the internal osseous misalignment. Ligaments are not effective in limiting the
motion of the ankle bone when excessive joint motion is present. Furthermore, there is not a single, specific ligament that is "too tight" that needs to be "stretched out." The muscles supporting the
bones are already being "over-worked" and they cannot be strengthened enough to realign these bones. There is no evidence to suggest that any of these measures are effective in re-establishing or
maintaining the normal joint alignment and function.
Exercises to strengthen and stretch supporting muscles will help to keep the bones in proper alignment. Duck stance: Stand with your heels together and feet turned out. Tighten the buttock muscles,
slightly tilt your pelvis forwards and try to rotate your legs outwards. You should feel your arches rising while you do this exercise. Calf stretch: Stand facing a wall and place hands on it for
support. Lean forwards until stretch is felt in the calves. Hold for 30 seconds. Bend at knees and hold for a further 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times. Golf ball: While drawing your toes upwards towards
your shins, roll a golf ball under the foot between 30 and 60 seconds. If you find a painful point, keep rolling the ball on that spot for 10 seconds. Big toe push:
Stand with your ankles in a neutral position (without rolling the foot inwards). Push down with your big toe but do not let the ankle roll inwards or the arch collapse. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10
times. Build up to longer times and fewer repetitions. Ankle strengthener: Place a ball between your foot and a wall. Sitting down and keeping your toes pointed upwards, press the outside of the foot
against the ball, as though pushing it into the wall. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times. Arch strengthener: Stand on one foot on the floor. The movements needed to remain balanced will
strengthen the arch. When you are able to balance for 30 seconds, start doing this exercise using a wobble board.