Improper foot health and attention to foot care can result in a number of painful and unsightly problems. Foot gait is often an issue. There are three main foot gait types: Neutral feet, supination, and overpronation. Neutral feet are the most common, where the arch is raised to a normal amount and the foot is stabilized enough to not cause body misalignment. Supination is where the foot rolls outward towards the edge and the ankle is often seriously affected. It’s also called underpronation. Overpronation occurs when the foot rolls inward towards the big toe. And this can cause a lot of problems. But what’s the big deal about overpronation?
How Does Overpronation Occur and Why Is It a Big Deal?
The term “pronation” is rather general, encompassing a number of bodily reactions. It basically refers to the process of a joint shifting to accept and adjust to the pressure of sudden movement. Some pronation is good. As the feet are the base of our bodies, there has to be some give in the joints in order for us not to collapse. However, when that pressure becomes overwhelming for too long, the foot gait changes. And when that occurs, the body reacts in unique and painful ways.
It’s important to understand that foot gait issues are simply bodily movements. They’re not diseases or chronic conditions. Of course, the resulting factors can lead to chronic pain. Overpronation occurs in 90% of those with gait issues. But why does this occur? There are a number of reasons for overpronation. The entire purpose of the foot is to take the pressure applied to it by the rest of the body.
Each foot contains 26 bones, over 30 joints, and 100 tendons and ligaments to handle that pressure. But if the feet are already overworked, weak for any reason, or the ligaments are worn, problems can arise. Being overweight or obese adds to the problem. But it’s a catch 22 since fitness is a key element to losing or maintaining weight. But those aren’t the main reasons for overpronation. The primary cause is having a flat arch.
What Issues Can Overpronation Cause?
When overpronation is ignored or left untreated, various issues can arise. One of the most common and most painful occurrences is Plantar Fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a long band of tissue that extends from the ball of the foot to the heel. When that becomes overworked or weakened, it becomes inflamed and insanely painful.
Tarsal tunnel syndrome occurs when there’s extended pressure on the posterior tibial nerve. Not unlike carpal tunnel syndrome, a debilitating hand-related issue caused by overworking the nerves, tarpal tunnel can be just as painful and far more debilitating. In the worst cases, it can remove the ability to be mobile.
Bunions, calluses, corns, shin splints, tendonitis, sprains and strains are all common conditions with overpronation. But it can affect more than the feet, ankles and shins. Once the ankle joints weaken, the rest of the body follows. Knee, hip, and back pain are common in sufferers of overpronation as well.
Simple Cures for Overpronation
Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to cure and correct your overpronation issues. Certain exercises help. Pull your toes back using a rolled up towel. Roll your feet over a golf or tennis ball for a minute. And do calf raises by standing up and lifting up on your toes. These all help reposition the foot and strengthen the muscles and tendons necessary for proper support. Beyond that, simple adjustments to footwear will help immensely.
Personal orthotics can be prescribed via your healthcare professional. If finances or insurance are issues, similar – and often better – options can be purchased online for overpronation. The right walking shoes are also essential. Most shoes cater to neutral foot gaits, unless they specifically state otherwise. That won’t help you if your foot rolls inward. In order to correct the issue, you need shoes with stability or motion control abilities, low heels, deep heel cups, and good arch support.
It takes time and patience to correct foot concerns. But proper foot health is essential to overall wellness. Implementing the above changes will slowly and permanently correct your overpronation and reduce foot pain and other painful bodily issues. Not to mention, more comfortable walking leads to doing it more often. And who doesn’t need to lose a few pounds in this day and age? It’s really a win-win.