How Can I Fix Flat Feet? Treatment For Pronation


What Is Pronation?

Pronation is a normal motion in the foot as the foot rolls or tilts inwards. This motion occurs shortly after the foot contacts the ground and causes the muscles to relax and the joints to loosen. It has to happen in order for your foot to adapt to different terrains and for shock absorption. Over pronation, however, is not normal and this happens when the foot rolls in too much causing the ligaments and muscles to become over stretched and the joints then have to work at unnatural angles. This can lead to a lot of discomfort and many painful conditions. Over pronation treatment is important as the strain placed on ligaments, joints and muscles may give rise to permanent deformities and other issues in the ankles, knees, hips and back.

How Can I Tell If I Have Over Pronation?

Usually you might experience some pain, discomfort or other symptoms in the feet, legs, knees, hips or lower back. Over pronation can be seen when you look at a person from the back whilst they are standing and you will notice their heels tilt inward quite a lot. You may also see the arch of the foot collapse or flatten (flat feet) and sometimes a “fleshy bulge” is noticed on the inner side of the foot just above the arch. Wear patterns on your shoes can also give you a clue as to whether you have over pronation that requires treatment. If you wear out the heels of your shoes very quickly or wear patterns are concentrated on the inside of the sole of the shoe (heel or front), you may have over pronation. Your shoes may also lean inwards excessively if you place them on a flat surface and look at them from the back.

How Does Over Pronation Affect Your Feet And Body?

Over pronation causes the joints of the foot to unlock and the foot becomes unstable at a time when it needs to be stable (it becomes a “loose bag of bones”), in turn the muscles in your feet and legs can become over stretched and have to act very quickly in an attempt to compensate and stabilise the foot. This causes excessive strain on the muscles and ligaments and they respond by weakening and tightening up. Furthermore, this unnatural angle at which the joints are now working can also lead to them becoming jarred or locked in these unnatural positions. Over pronation also causes the leg to rotate inwards due to the resultant action on the ankle joint, this in turn leads to the knee and thigh also rotating inward and ultimately the knee and hip joints are also working at unnatural angles. If one foot over pronates more than the other, that foot will collapse more and be lower to the ground in relation to the other foot. This causes one limb to be lower than the other limb (it appears as if though it is shorter) which can cause strain on your lower back and changes in your spine may occur as well, including scoliosis.

What Are Some Of The Common Conditions That May Be Associated With Over Pronation?

Below is a list of some common conditions that may be associated with over pronation:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Heel Pain
  • Heel spurs
  • Arch Pain
  • Knee pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Achilles tendon problems
  • Bunions (Hallux abducto valgus)
  • Stiff big toe (Hallux limitus)
  • Pain in the ball of the foot (metatarsalgia or Morton’s neuroma)
  • Shin splints

These are only a few of the conditions that may be related to over pronation.

Over Pronation Treatment

There are a variety of treatments available for over pronation and the Podiatrists at Rivervale Podiatry usually utilise a combination of these treatments. Below are some of the treatment protocols that may be used:

  • Strapping/Taping – Taping the foot in a certain way provides support for the foot as well as stability and may be used in acute cases or as a first line treatment
  • Exercises – These are used to strengthen certain muscles in order to achieve better foot function
  • Stretching protocols – This aids in loosening up tight muscles and ligaments to prevent further strain
  • Joint mobilisations – This helps joints that may have become jarred or fixed to loosen up and in turn, better foot function is achieved.
  • Orthotics – These shoe inserts prevent over pronation from happening, support the feet and gives your feet the ability to function at optimum levels

Speak to one of the Podiatrists at Rivervale Podiatry if you would like to know more about over pronation treatment.