Your feet function as excellent shock absorbers. They distribute your bodyweight evenly when you take a step, and handle the impact of landing on the ground. This allows you to walk, run, jump, play sports, and do anything else that requires movement. Naturally, feet are the best at managing all this when they function the way in which they were designed. Anything that challenges their function, like overpronation, can lead to painful problems.
Changing the Gait
Overpronation is a biomechanical issue that allows your arch to roll too far toward the ground whenever you take a step. Your foot is supposed to roll inward somewhat—that is normal. As your foot strikes the ground and weight transfers from the back of the foot to the front, your arch pronates in slightly, allowing your foot to absorb shock and distribute weight evenly. When you overpronate, however, your mid-foot falls downward and strains the foot and ankle.
This destabilizes your lower limbs and forces them to do more work than they typically would. Hard impacts on the ground take a greater toll on your feet. In addition, since your foot is rolled in, you’re not able to push off the full ball of the foot. Your first two toes end up bearing the brunt of your force. This can lead to a variety of painful problems, from metatarsalgia, to tendonitis, bunions, and plantar fasciitis.
The instability in your ankles causes a domino effect of problems up your legs as well. When your ankle rotates in, the knee and hip follow, and consequently are also strained. Anyone with flatfoot is particularly prone to this problem, since your arches are already low to the ground and struggle to absorb shock efficiently. The more athletic your activities, the more overpronation increases your risk for injury. Fortunately, this condition is something that can be easily addressed using conservative measures.
Correcting Your Steps
Dr. Darren Silvester will need to see your feet and evaluate your gait to determine if your discomfort is truly caused by overpronation or if other issues are affecting your lower limbs. Our staff will perform various tests to get a clearer picture of how your foot works and moves when you walk or run. We may also examine your athletic shoes to see the wear patterns—if you overpronate, the inside portion of your shoes, along the arch area, will be the most worn down.
The most effective way to manage overpronation is with footwear changes. You may need a shoe that offers some level of motion control. This will support your arch and maintain your ankle stability, allowing your foot to absorb shock more efficiently. Simply changing your footwear may not be enough, though. You may need custom orthotics. These support pieces are designed to fit your exact foot and meet your unique pronation needs. Sometimes physical therapy to increase the range of motion in your ankle can help as well, since stiffness there can lead to pronation problems.
If you are struggling with foot pain, especially during physical activities like running, you may have trouble with overpronation. Don’t let it keep you from doing what you enjoy. Let Dr. Darren Silvester here at Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic in Universal City or Pleasanton, TX, help you manage your gait and stay as healthy as possible. Request an appointment with us by calling 210.375.3318 or using our online contact form.