By Rehan Iqbal
If you have flat feet, you probably have a problem with overpronation. This means that your feet roll inward as you walk or run due to the lack of arch in your foot. What can you do about this? People with overpronation often have many questions about footwear, shoe inserts, orthotics, exercise and more. In this article, we address a dozen of the most frequently asked questions regarding what overpronators can do to address and correct the problem of flat feet and overpronation.
Addressing the Overpronation Issues
1. How are Flat Feet and Overpronation Connected?
If you have flat or low arches, you are said to have flat feet. This is a condition that you may have inherited, or it may have developed as a result of too much standing and too little arch support. When you have flat feet, you will tend to overpronate. This term refers to the way you walk or run (your gait). If you have flat feet, the inner side of your feet tend to roll inward and cause an unnatural bend in your ankles. Without good support, this misalignment can cause a wide variety of painful problems over time.
2. What Kind of Problems Does Overpronation Cause?
3. Do Overpronators Need Stability Shoes?
While some sources say that there is no harm in overpronation and that it is not entirely proven that stability shoes will correct or stop overpronation, the general consensus is still that people experiencing overpronation will be more comfortable and less prone to injury when wearing stability shoes. This is especially true of runners. Stability running shoes help prevent the ankles and arches from rolling in dramatically. Overpronation under duress (e.g. running or active sports) can lead to injury and pain.
4. Are Stability Shoes Safer for People with Overpronation?
5. Who Can Wear Neutral Shoes?
People whose feet are in good (neutral) alignment can wear neutral shoes, which allow the feet to move freely inside the shoes. New runners who have some degree of pronation may also start out in neutral shoes; however, as the distance and challenge of running increases, more support and stability may be needed.
6. Who Can Wear Stability Shoes?
In short, everybody can wear stability shoes. Even though it is alright for people with a neutral gait to wear neutral shoes, it is actually fine (and even preferable) for them to wear comfortable stability shoes. All runners (and walkers) can benefit from good support. Runners with perfectly strong feet and normally high arches can develop fallen arches over time without good support.
7. What’s Happening When Stability Shoes are Painful?
The simple answer is that you may have selected shoes that are not quite the right size or that don’t offer exactly the combination of support you need. It may be that you need more support, or it could be that your feet are being held too firmly in place. Either way, the error in fitting could be causing you pain and may cause injury unless it is corrected. This is why it’s always smart to purchase from a shoe shop that has a good return policy.
8. How Can You Tell How Much Support and Stability you need in a Running Shoe?
It’s always a good idea to purchase your running shoes from a reputable store that has knowledgeable clerks who will take the time to ask you questions, look at your gait and offer you high quality choices in footwear. It is also smart to take your old running shoes with you when you purchase new shoes. The wear pattern on the soles of the shoes will tell the clerk a great deal about your support and stability needs.
9. How Do Stability Shoes Help With Overpronation?
Good stability running shoes are made to distribute impact more evenly. They are built with strong medial post support that may extend through the heel of the shoe. Furthermore, stability shoes provide firm arch support for flat feet.
10. How Important is Arch Support in Correcting and Controlling Overpronation?
Without good arch support, overpronation may eventually lead to the collapse of your arches. You may be more likely to develop plantar fasciitis and experience a great deal of pain. Firm arch supports help keep your feet properly positioned in your shoes and align your feet for a better and more efficient gait.
11. How are Motion Control Shoes Different from Stability Shoes?
12. Is it Alright to Use Arch Supports and Inserts in Stability Shoes?
Ideally, your stability shoes should provide all the support and stability you need. Even so, the addition of a bit of cushioning and/or support may be helpful in some cases. You may want to look at motion control shoes, which will tend to offer extra support for your feet.