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Running & Fitness: What Causes Over-Pronation?

During walking our feet have what is called ‘pronation’. This is how much the foot rolls inwards, and how much the arch flattens. Excessive pronation can cause a higher probability for one to sustain injuries since it causes more stress on the plantar fascia. Over-pronation can also lead to more discomfort and various other foot problems as well. Some of these include bunions, heel spurs and post-tib tendonitis.

Over-pronation can cause neuroma. Image credit: Running Shoes for Overpronation

Those who have what are often referred to as ‘flat feet’ generally have over-pronation, as their feet pronate more than normal. Basically, as the framework of the foot collapses, the foot flattens and ends up adding more stress to other parts. Having flat feet does not necessarily mean that you also have over-pronation, but if you have a flexible flat foot, over-pronation is highly likely. Pronated feet are caused by various factors. Some of these include obesity and pregnancy, and it could also be a genetic predisposition. Repetitive pounding onto hard surfaces without having proper foot support could also lead to a weakening of the foot’s arch, and this could in turn lead to over-pronation.

Considering all this, it is important to be aware how over-pronation can be prevented. First of all, it is highly recommended to undergo a gait analysis. During such an analysis one’s feet can be studied in detail so as to ascertain their level of pronation and the presence of any biomechanical abnormality. Based on such an analysis, the right type of shoes for that individual can be selected.

Overpronators need shoes that offer the best support. Structured cushioning shoes are highly beneficial for such people as while the foot lands on the outside of the heel and pronates excessively, the weight of the person will be transferred to the inner edge of the feet, instead of on the ball of the feet. This can lead to considerable pain and discomfort, along with a higher incidence of developing injuries and conditions such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, shin splints and heel spurs. Therefore a gait analysis and informed shopping for running shoes are imperative for people who either have flat feet or low arches.

The Soles of Your Shoes Will Reveal Your Foot Pronation. Image credit: Amphibops

There are also some things that one could do in order to reduce over-pronation and its problems. There are some exercises, for instance, that one can perform so as to improve over time. Some of these include calf raises, inversions, rolling a ball beneath oneís feet, and curling a towel using the toes only. Improved conditioning and muscle strength could lead to a decrease in oneís excess pronation. It is also highly recommended to try to lose weight especially if one is overweight.

This is because the more weight one has, the harder the feetís arches will need to work. Moreover, the more overweight a person is, the more serious the over-pronation can get since he/she would be carrying excess weight, leading to an imbalance in weight distribution, and resulting in more stress on the feet. This will thus contribute to flat feet, and related over-pronation problems. Therefore it is important to try to put off weight to avoid this and the negative effects attributed to it.