Over-pronation, or flat feet, is a common biomechanical problem that occurs in the walking process when a person?s arch collapses upon weight bearing. This motion can cause extreme stress or
inflammation on the plantar fascia, possibly causing severe discomfort and leading to other foot problems.
There has been some speculation as to whether arch height has an effect on pronation. After conducting a study at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Maggie Boozer suggests that people with
higher arches tend to pronate to a greater degree. However, the generally accepted view by professionals is that the most pronation is present in those with lower arch heights. To complicate matters,
one study done by Hylton Menz at the University of Western Sydney-Macarthur suggests that the methods for measuring arch height and determining whether someone is ?flat-footed? or ?high-arched? are
unreliable. He says, ?For this reason, studies investigating the relationship between static arch height motion of the rearfoot have consistently found that such a classification system is a poor
predictor of dynamic rearfoot function.
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.
When sitting, an over-pronating foot appears quite normal, i.e. showing a normal arch with room under the underside of the foot. The moment you get up and put weight on your feet the situation
changes: the arches lower and the ankle slightly turns inwards. When you walk or run more weight is placed on the feet compared to standing and over-pronation will become more evident. When walking
barefoot on tiles or timber floors over-pronation is more visible, compared to walking on carpet or grass.
Non Surgical Treatment
Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to cure and correct your overpronation issues. Certain exercises help. Pull your toes back using a rolled up towel. Roll your feet over a golf or
tennis ball for a minute. And do calf raises by standing up and lifting up on your toes. These all help reposition the foot and strengthen the muscles and tendons necessary for proper support. Beyond
that, simple adjustments to footwear will help immensely.
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.