Pronation is the way the foot rolls inward when you walk and run. It is part of the natural movement that helps the lower leg deal with shock. Some people pronate more (overpronation) or less
(underpronation) than others. Though this is not bad in itself, it does affect the way you run and it may increase the likelihood of injury. This makes your pronation pattern an important factor in
choosing the right shoes.
There are many possible causes for overpronation, but researchers have not yet determined one underlying cause. Hintermann states, Compensatory overpronation may occur for anatomical reasons, such as
a tibia vara of 10 degrees or more, forefoot varus, leg length discrepancy, ligamentous laxity, or because of muscular weakness or tightness in the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. Pronation can be
influenced by sources outside of the body as well. Shoes have been shown to significantly influence pronation. Hintermann states that the same person can have different amounts of pronation just by
using different running shoes. It is easily possible that the maximal ankle joint eversion movement is 31 degrees for one and 12 degrees for another running shoe.
Common conditions that develop with prolonged overpronation typically include plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, shin splints, posterior tibial stress syndrome and even IT band syndrome. With
long term neglect you may see the development of bunyons, foot deformities and early onset of hip and knee arthritis.
You can test for pronation by looking at the leg and foot from the back. Normally you can see the Achilles Tendon run straight down the leg into the heel. If the foot is pronated, the tendon will run
straight down the leg, but when it lies on the heel it will twist outward. This makes the inner ankle bone much more prominent than the outer ankle bone.
Non Surgical Treatment
An orthotic is a device inserted inside the shoe to assist in prevention and/or rehabilitation of injury. Orthotics support the arch, prevent or correct functional deformities, and improve
biomechanics. Prescription foot orthoses are foot orthoses which are fabricated utilizing a three dimensional representation of the plantar foot and are specifically constructed for an individual
using both weightbearing and nonweightbearing measurement parameters and using the observation of the foot and lower extremity functioning during weightbearing activities. Non-prescription foot
orthoses are foot which are fabricated in average sizes and shapes in an attempt to match the most prevalent sizes and shapes of feet within the population without utilizing a three dimensional
representation of the plantar foot of the individual receiving the orthosis.
Wearing the proper footwear plays a key role as a natural way to help pronation. Pronated feet need shoes that fit well, provide stability, contain supportive cushioning, are comfortable and allow
enough room for your foot to move without causing pain or discomfort. Putting special inner heel wedges, known as orthotics, into your shoes can support a flatfoot while lowering risks of developing
tendinitis, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. More extensive cases may require specially fitted orthopaedic shoes that support the arches.