If you have pain in your knees, it might never occur to you to suspect that your feet are the cause. Even so, very often uncorrected foot problems can lead to knee problems. This is especially true of a condition known as overpronation. In this article, we discuss overpronation and explain how taking care of your feet can help you prevent pain in your knees and overall musculoskeletal problems. Read on to learn more.
Overpronation Can Cause Knee Pain
When you walk or run, your foot naturally rolls inward a bit. This is called pronation. It is necessary, but it is also possible for your feet to overdo it! This is called overpronation, and it is often the culprit in cases of knee pain.
Knee pain can develop gradually over time if you are "knock-kneed". Being knock-kneed is a symptom of overpronation of the feet. This occurs in people who are flat-footed or have fallen arches. The lack of support in the arch of your foot causes your knees to fall out of alignment.
To determine whether you might have flat or fallen arches, have a look at the soles of your shoes. If your knee problem is caused by overpronation, you will find that the inner area of the sole of your shoe, along with the area under the ball of your foot will be very worn. You may also observe that the upper part of your shoe leans in.
Another way to determine whether you have flat or fallen arches is to dampen the soles of your feet and then step onto a dry piece of cardboard or concrete surface. If your footprint has no indentation where the arch should be, you are flat-footed.
Your doctor, podiatrist or physical therapist can further diagnose your problem by performing a gait analysis.
Overpronation causes the tendon that holds the knee cap in place to pull the wrong way, allowing the knee cap to track over unintended parts of the knee joint. This condition is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS). This condition is commonly called Runner’s Knee.
With the passage of time, PFPS can cause a great deal of knee pain that is especially evident when climbing or descending stairs, squatting, jumping, running or otherwise performing activities that require you to bend your knees.
If left untreated, the misalignment of your feet can cause more problems. In addition to pain in your feet, Achilles tendon, ankles, shins and knees, you may experience pain in your hips and back.
Luckily, correcting overpronation is fairly simple. Over the counter (OTC) corrective insoles may be all that is needed; however, it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist for a proper evaluation of your overpronation so that you can be sure of taking just the right actions to counter it.
What Will The Podiatrist Suggest?
Your podiatrist will review your current foot care regimen (if you have one) and will help you understand how you can take better care of your feet to strengthen them and protect them from injury. He or she may give you some exercises to perform and may even send you to physical therapy (PT) for gait rehabilitation.
Your PT may include exercises to stretch and strengthen your hamstrings and gluteal muscles, along with tactics such as taking more and smaller steps.
Your podiatrist will look at your current footwear and will explain the importance of always wearing well fitted, supportive shoes, in good condition. He or she may recommend a particular type of OTC shoe inserts, or it may be that prescription inserts are in order.
The combination of good foot care, consistent PT and appropriate, well fitting, supportive footwear may very well resolve your problem altogether.