Overpronation is the most common abnormality found in the foot, and for this reason, is the most studied. The term that most people attribute to overpronation is ?flat feet.? Pronation is the rolling
in of the foot and the collapse of the arch. Every person pronates to some extent and this is a necessary moment in the normal walking cycle as it allows the forefoot to make complete contact with
the ground. Overpronation is when a person pronates too much and for too long. This places excess stress on the tendons and ligaments in the foot and ankle.
Overpronation often occurs in people with flat feet, whose plantar fascia ligament is too flexible or too long, and therefore unable to properly support the longitudinal arch of the foot. People tend
to inherit the foot structure that leads to overpronation. In a normal foot the bones are arranged so that two arches are formed, the longitudinal and the transverse. Ligaments hold all the bones in
their correct positions, and tendons attach muscles to bones. If the bones are held together too loosely, they will tend to move inwards as this is the easiest direction for them to go. Over time the
soft tissue structures will adjust to the misalignment and the foot will become permanently over-flexible, with a flat arch.
Overpronation can lead to injuries and pain in the foot, ankle, knee, or hip. Overpronation puts extra stress on all the bones in the feet. The repeated stress on the knees, shins, thighs, and pelvis
puts additional stress on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the lower leg. This can put the knee, hip, and back out of alignment, and it can become very painful.
A quick way to see if you over-pronate is to look for these signs. While standing straight with bare feet on the floor, look so see if the inside of your arch or sole touches the floor. Take a look
at your hiking or running shoes; look for wear on the inside of the sole. Wet your feet and walk on a surface that will show the foot mark. If you have a neutral foot you should see your heel
connected to the ball of your foot by a mark roughly half of width of your sole. If you over-pronate you will see greater than half and up to the full width of your sole.
Non Surgical Treatment
The following exercises help retrain the foot and ankle complex to correct overpronation. Step Up and Over. This exercise is designed to integrate skills learned in the Duck Stand, Big Toe Pushdowns
and Side Step with Opposite Reach exercises to mimic walking and even running. Using the gluteal muscles and big toe in tandem will prevent overpronation while moving back and forth over the BT in a
more effective, balanced motion. Movement Directions. Stand with left foot on top of the BT dome. (Note: For added balance, the right foot can tap on the ground, if needed). Extend right foot
backwards to the ground and drop hips into a lunge position. Make sure that the right arm rotates across the left leg (this will activate the gluteal muscles on the left side). Now, step through and
over the BT into a front lunge with the right leg forward. While lunging forward, the torso and left arm now rotate over the right leg. Throughout the exercise, push big toe down into the BT. Perform
8 to 10 repetitions on both sides.
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.