How Overpronation Affects the Rest of Your Body
If you’ve just started getting into running and had an expert take a look at your stride you may have been told that you overpronate—in other words, your ankle rolls farther inward than normal when you walk or run. This flattens the arch, and puts extra weight on the inside edge of the foot. You may have noticed yourself that your arches tend to be flat, or that the ankle appears to tilt outward of the feet point outward even when you stand. But how bad is that, really?
Well, consider that a house built on unstable, collapsing soil can lead to sloping floors, cracks in the wall, and windows and doors that stick or won’t close. (Hopefully you’ve never had to go through that kind of experience yourself!) Your feet perform a similar service for body as a foundation does for a home or building. If the feet are flat or misaligned, the problems won’t stay there. All of the bones, joints, and muscles that are built on top of the feet—all the way up the spine—will need to adjust themselves to accommodate the misalignment.
Overpronation-related injuries tend to be of the overuse variety—not sudden breaks or snaps, but slow degradation and wear and tear over time. Runners are especially vulnerable, since running can put forces equivalent to several times your own body weight on the feet with each stride. Injuries might include:
- Chronic heel pain, particularly plantar fasciitis
- Stress fractures, particularly in the bones of the midfoot
- Tarsal tunnel syndrome, caused by a collapse in the tarsal tunnel that presses on the nerves. (Think of it as carpal tunnel syndrome, except in the ankles instead of the wrists).
- Swelling and injury in the tibia (shinbone) and surrounding tissues, otherwise known as shin splints.
- Pain in the front of the knee, usually due to the kneecap rubbing painfully against the thighbone (patellofemoral pain syndrome)
- Pain in the hips and lower back.
Fortunately, unless your overpronation is excessively severe, you can usually manage the problem successfully through proper shoe choice, removable insoles, and if necessary, custom orthotics prescribed by our office. Only in the rarest cases would surgery be required.
If overpronation is contributing to sore, aching feet, knees, hips, or back, please give us a call today at (262) 544-0700.