When the arch of the foot collapses excessively downward or inward, this is known as overpronation. Sometimes, people call this condition flat feet.
|Overview | Injuries | Causes | Diagnosis | Treatment options | Prevention | Outlook|
However, there are simple treatments available to prevent injuries due to overpronation.
|Pronation and overpronation|
|Pronation refers to the foot’s natural way of moving from side to side when a person walks or runs.
It occurs as the weight is transferred from the heel to the ball of the foot as a person goes through their walking or running stride.
Pronation also occurs while standing, and in this case, pronation refers to the amount that the foot rolls inward toward the arch.
Some pronation is normal. Overpronation is when the foot rolls inward toward the arch excessively and can cause various injuries.
|Overpronation and injuries|
|Overpronation puts people at an increased risk of developing specific injuries. This is because it disrupts the body’s natural alignment and causes increased impact when the foot strikes the ground.
Athletes with overpronation, particularly runners, see an increased likelihood of developing overuse injuries.
Injuries that frequently occur in people with overpronation include:
|Overpronation is generally caused by flat, very flexible feet.
Sometimes, people are born with flat feet. However, there are also conditions and situations that can increase a person’s chances of developing flat feet or weakened arches, which can lead to overpronation.
These conditions and situations include:
|Many people who overpronate know they have flat feet without seeing a doctor.
If a person thinks they may overpronate, then they can self-assess first using one of the three following methods:
If a person tries these three methods and is still not sure whether they overpronate, they may choose to either visit a specialty running store, podiatrist, or orthopedic surgeon. At some specialty running stores, the clerks are trained to check for overpronation.
A podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon, or physical therapist can make a definite diagnosis. A person should see a specialist for overpronation if they are experiencing pain or chronic injury, especially if they have tried to self-correct the problem in the past.
A specialist can recommend treatment options that may help solve the problem.
|There are many different treatment options available for overpronation. The main treatment options are:
|Choosing supportive shoes|
|A person with overpronation should take extra care when selecting shoes, particularly when picking shoes for any activity that involves repeated foot strikes, such as running or walking.
Anyone with overpronation should look for shoes that offer extra support and stability so that the shoes minimize the impact of each step.
A person with overpronation looking for supportive shoes may want to do the following when selecting shoes:
|Exercises for overpronation|
|Sometimes, a person with overpronation will be referred to a physical therapist for strengthening exercises.
These exercises can help support the arches of their feet and the muscles that help support the arches.
A physical therapist may recommend that a person with overpronation and related injuries may add the following exercises to their routine:
|Orthotics are special inserts that slip into shoes to offer extra arch support and help minimize the impact of the way someone walks.
More generic orthotics are available without a prescription and may provide enough support to prevent injuries due to overpronation.
|Some people cannot prevent overpronation but can reduce its effect through the use of orthotics and proper footwear.
These people can also help reduce their risk of an injury related to overpronation by doing recommended exercises.
Other people may be able to prevent overpronation from developing by maintaining a healthy weight.
|Anyone experiencing pain or repeated injury due to overpronation should see a doctor. A doctor can recommend many options for a person that can relieve pain and prevent re-injury.
People with overpronation-related injuries can take steps to prevent further injuries in the future.