Foot types can be divided into three major groups: the flat foot (Pes Planus), the high arched foot (Pes Valgus) and the normal to low arched foot. A true 'flat foot' is very rare. In fact, less than
5% of the population have flat feet i.e. a foot with no arch present whatsoever and the entire bottom surface of the foot being flat on the ground. About 5-10% of people have a high arched foot. The
majority of the population have a normal to low arch. Even though the arches appear to be normal most of us suffer from over-pronation during walking, running and standing, due to the hard, flat
unnatural surfaces we walk on, combined with wearing unsupportive footwear. With every step we take the arches flatten and the ankles roll inwards. Pronation itself is not wrong because we need to
pronate and supinate as part of our natural gait cycle. Pronation (rolling in) acts as a shock-absorbing mechanism and supination (rolling out) helps to propel our feet forward. Over-pronation occurs
when the foot pronates too deep and for too long, not allowing the foot to 'recover' and supinate. Over-pronation hampers our natural walking pattern. It causes an imbalance and leads to wear and
tear in several parts of the body with every step we take.
Over-pronation occurs when the foot collapses too far inward stressing the plantar fascia (the area underneath the arch of the foot.) Normally, one pronates every time he or she walks, but excessive
pronation is called over-pronation. When this occurs it can cause pain in the feet, knees, hips, low back and even the shoulder. Decreasing over-pronation, which is very prominent in runners, will
help add endurance, speed and efficiency to your run and ultimately place less stress on your body.
Common conditions seen with overpronation include heel pain or plantar fasciitis. Achilles tendonopathy. Hallus Valgus and/or bunions. Patellofemoral pain syndrome. Iliotibial band pain syndrome. Low
back pain. Shin splints. Stress fractures in the foot or lower leg.
You can test for pronation by looking at the leg and foot from the back. Normally you can see the Achilles Tendon run straight down the leg into the heel. If the foot is pronated, the tendon will run
straight down the leg, but when it lies on the heel it will twist outward. This makes the inner ankle bone much more prominent than the outer ankle bone.
Non Surgical Treatment
If a young child is diagnosed with overpronation braces and custom orthotics can be, conjunction with strengthening and stretching exercises, to realign the bones of the foot. These treatments may
have to continue until the child has stopped growing, and orthotics may need to be worn for life in order to prevent the foot reverting to an overpronated state. Wearing shoes that properly support
the foot, particularly the arch, is one of the most effective treatments for overpronation. Custom-made orthotic inserts can also be very beneficial. They too support the arch and distribute body
weight correctly throughout the foot. Motion-control shoes that prohibit pronation can be worn, so may be useful for those with severe overpronation. One good treatment is to walk barefoot as often
as possible. Not relying on shoes to support the arch will encourage proper muscle use. Practicing yoga can help to correct poor posture and teach you how to stand with your weight balanced evenly
across the whole foot.
Massage and stretch the calves to increase dorsiflexion at the foot/ankle. Dorsiflexion is the bending at the ankle. By improving the dorsiflexion, one will have more flexibility at the ankle, which
will allow the foot to over-pronate less. Massage the IT Band with a foam roller or tennis ball to quiet down the tightness throughout this part of the leg. The IT Band attaches from the glute
maximus and runs down the side of the leg into the knee area. When the IT Band is tight it will accelerate the force of the leg moving inward, which will cause the foot to move inward as well. It is
often that tightness through the IT Band that promotes over-pronation. Decreasing over-pronation, which is very prominent in runners, will help add endurance, speed and efficiency to your run and
ultimately place less stress on your body.