Pronation is the normal movement the foot makes to absorb the impact from walking or running. It occurs once the heel strikes the ground and the foot disperses the impact, stretching and flattening
the arch as the foot rolls inward. Supination is the opposite motion of pronation. The foot supinates, or rolls on its outer edge, to help with stability as we walk or run. A reasonable amount of
pronation is necessary for the foot to function properly. However, when the foot arch remains flat and the foot rolls inward too much one may have excessive pronation or overpronation. This medical
condition can result from continually straining the feet and wearing footwear that lacks sufficient foot arch support.
In adults, the most common reason for the onset of Over-Pronation is a condition known as Post Tibial Tendonitis. This condition develops from repetitive stress on the main supporting tendon
(Posterior Tibial Tendon) of the foot arch. As the body ages, ligaments and muscles can weaken. When this occurs the job of providing the majority of the support required by the foot arch is placed
upon this tendon. Unfortunately, this tendon cannot bear the weight of this burden for too long. Eventually it fatigues under the added strain and in doing so the foot arch becomes progressively
lower over a period of time.
Overpronation can negatively affect overall body alignment. The lowering of the longitudinal arch pulls the heel bone in, causing the leg, thigh bone and hip to rotate inwards, and an anterior tilt
of the pelvis. Unnecessary strain to the ankles, knees, hips and back can result. Plantar fasciitis and inflammation, metatarsal pain, problems with the Achilles tendon, pain on the inside of the
knee, and bursitis in the hip are just some of the conditions commonly associated with pronation.
The best way to discover whether you have a normal gait, or if you overpronate, is to visit a specialty run shop, an exercise physiologist, a podiatrist or a physical therapist who specializes in
working with athletes. A professional can analyze your gait, by watching you either walk or run, preferably on a treadmill. Some facilities can videotape your gait, then analyze the movement of your
feet in slow-motion. Another (and less costly) way is to look at the bottom of an older pair of run shoes. Check the wear pattern. A person with a normal gait will generally see wear evenly across
the heel and front of the shoe. A person who overpronates will likely see more wear on the OUTside of the heel and more wear on the INside of the forefoot (at the ball). A person who supinates will
see wear all along the outer edges of the shoe. You can also learn about your gait by looking at your arches. Look at the shape your wet feet leave on a piece of paper or a flat walking
Non Surgical Treatment
Wear shoes with straight or semicurved lasts. Motion-control or stability shoes with firm, multidensity midsoles and external control features that limit pronation are best. Over-the-counter
orthotics or arch supports can help, too. You know you are making improvements when the wear pattern on your shoes becomes more normal. Overpronation causes extra stress and tightness to the muscles,
so do a little extra stretching.
Subtalar Arthroereisis. The ankle and hindfoot bones/midfoot bones around the joint are fused, locking the bones in place and preventing all joint motion. This may also be done in combination with
fusion at other joints. This is a very aggressive option usually reserved for extreme cases where no joint flexibility is present and/or the patient has severe arthritic changes in the joint.