The Problem with Overpronation

PronationEverybody pronates. That might come as something of a surprise to those who may have heard runners complain about “pronation problems,” but the term itself simply refers to the natural inward rolling of the foot and flattening of the arch that occurs with each step. While pronation itself is normal, problems can occur when your feet roll too far inward—this is overpronation.

Why is overpronation a problem? It’s about how your feet cushion shocks and spread out impact forces. During healthy, normal pronation, your arch flexes to absorb your weight and distribute it evenly across your feet, then returns to its normal position when you push off. Stress on your muscles and joints is minimized, and very little energy is wasted.

When you overpronate, however, a number of potentially problematic things can occur, including:

  • Impact forces are not properly absorbed by the feet, but instead radiate up the leg and even to the back and spine. Furthermore, it puts your entire body out of alignment, with ankles and hips turned too far outward. This can cause pain and discomfort in these areas.
  • Added weight and stress over time on certain areas of the feet increase your likelihood of developing many different overuse injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, stress fractures, and more.
  • Increased pressure focused toward the front and inside of your feet during push-off—near the base of the big toe—increase your risk of destabilizing the joint and leading to bunion formation.

Fortunately, you can take action to minimize painful symptoms from overpronation, as well as reduce your risk of developing bunions or injuries. Shoes that provide extra medial support and a harder midsole can help. Likewise, we can perform an analysis of your walking and running gait and recommend further aids, such as prefabricated inserts or custom orthotics, to help rebalance forces across your feet. Please reach out to us for an appointment—you can request one online, or call our Palm Desert, CA office today at 760-568-0108.

Dr. Harvey Danciger
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Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle
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