Normal, healthy feet pronate! Normal pronation does not need to be ?corrected?. However, some people OVER-pronate. Those people need a shoe that supports their over-pronating foot to help guide the
foot and avoid injury. So, what does pronation mean exactly? Well, ?pronate? is the word used to describe the natural motion of the foot after it strikes the ground. When a person with a normally
pronating foot runs, the outside part of the heel strikes the ground. As the individual shifts the body weight forward, the foot rolls inward (pronates) and the entire foot comes into contact with
the ground. This allows the foot to properly support the body and absorb the impact forces. Motion continues forward and the peron pushes off (called ?toe off?) evenly from the front of the foot.
Someone who OVER-pronates strikes the ground with the heel in the same way, but the foot rolls too far inward (overpronation). This causes foot and ankle strain, as it does not allow the foot and
ankle to properly support the body nor to properly absorb the impact forces. As motion continues forward, they will toe-off more from the ball of her foot. Runners who overpronate are susceptible to
foot, ankle and knee problems if they don't wear a shoe that properly supports the motion of their feet.
Generally fallen arches are a condition inherited from one or both parents. In addition, age, obesity, and pregnancy cause our arches to collapse. Being in a job that requires long hours of standing
and/or walking (e.g. teaching, retail, hospitality, building etc) contributes to this condition, especially when standing on hard surfaces like concrete floors. Last, but not least unsupportive
footwear makes our feet roll in more than they should.
Because pronation is a twisting of the foot, all of the muscles and tendons which run from the leg and ankle into the foot will be twisted. In over-pronation, resulting laxity of the soft tissue
structures of the foot and loosened joints cause the bones of the feet shift. When this occurs, the muscles which attach to these bones must also shift, or twist, in order to attach to these bones.
The strongest and most important muscles that attach to our foot bones come from our lower leg. So, as these muscles course down the leg and across the ankle, they must twist to maintain their proper
attachments in the foot. Injuries due to poor biomechanics and twisting of these muscles due to over-pronation include: shin splints, Achilles Tendonitis, generalized tendonitis, fatigue, muscle
aches and pains, cramps, ankle sprains, and loss of muscular efficiency (reducing walking and running speed and endurance). Foot problems due to over-pronation include: bunions, heel spurs, plantar
fasciitis, fallen and painful arches, hammer toes, and calluses.
When you overpronate your foot rolls inwards causing the lower leg to rotate inwards too. It's thought that this increases stress on the soft tissues of the lower leg causing pain and inflammation,
or more commonly known as shin splints.
Non Surgical Treatment
Get a gait analysis of your running style, this will highlight if you overpronate, oversupinate or have a neutral gait. Most podiatrists, physio's and sports therapists will offer this service, as do
some specialist sports shops. Find a clinic. If you overpronate, get orthotics with extra medial support. Many running shoes have a harder material on the inside of the midsole (the thick hard foam
part of the running shoe). This means the inside of the shoe will be compressed less under load and support the inside of the foot preventing it from rolling in or flattening. For people with
considerable overpronation, another option is to have an orthotic device fitted. Orthotic insoles come in many types and prices. Some are pre-molded and can be bought off the shelf. These are ok for
the majority of problem feet. However some cases may require specially casted orthotics from a relevant sports injury therapist or podiatrist.
Firstly, a thorough and correct warm up will help to prepare the muscles and tendons for any activity or sport. Without a proper warm up the muscles and tendons around your feet, ankles and lower
legs will be tight and stiff. There will be limited blood flow to the lower legs, which will result in a lack of oxygen and nutrients for those muscles. Click here for a detailed explanation of how,
why and when to perform your warm up. Secondly, flexible muscles are extremely important in the prevention of most ankle and lower leg injuries. When muscles and tendons are flexible and supple, they
are able to move and perform without being over stretched. If however, your muscles and tendons are tight and stiff, it is quite easy for those muscles and tendons to be pushed beyond their natural
range of motion. To keep your muscles and tendons flexible and supple, it is important to undertake a structured stretching routine.