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WHAT IS PRONATION? Pronation is the tri-planar motion that allows us to transfer weight from our heels to the balls of our feet during gait. The most important thing to understand about pronation is that it is necessary. Normal pronation is the ideal situation for anyone. If an individual overpronates or underpronates, they may experience problems.
If you have a normal arch, you’re likely a normal pronator. Individuals with flat feet normally overpronate, and those with high arches typically supinate. While arch type can go a long way to determine whether or not your levels of pronation are normal, a thorough gait analysis from a trained professional is recommended.
NORMAL PRONATION The outside part of the heel makes initial contact with the ground. The foot “rolls” inward about fifteen percent, comes in complete contact with the ground and can support your body weight without any problem. The rolling in of the foot optimally distributes the forces of impact. This movement is called “pronation,” and it’s critical to proper shock absorption. At the end of the gait cycle, you push off evenly from the front of the foot.
OVERPRONATION As with the “normal pronation” sequence, the outside of the heel makes the initial ground contact. However, the foot rolls inward more than the ideal fifteen percent, which is called “overpronation.” This means the foot and ankle have problems stabilizing the body, and shock isn’t absorbed as efficiently. At the end of the gait cycle, the front of the foot pushes off the ground using mainly the big toe and second toe, which then must do all the work.
SUPINATION Again, the outside of the heel makes initial contact with the ground. But the inward movement of the foot occurs at less than fifteen percent (i.e., there is less rolling in than for those with normal or flat feet). Consequently, forces of impact are concentrated on a smaller area of the foot (the outside part) and are not distributed as efficiently. In the push-off phase, most of the work is done by the smaller toes on the outside of the foot.
PRONATION COMMON SYMPTOMS/COMPLAINTS Symptoms can manifest in many different ways. The associated conditions depend on the individual lifestyle of each patient. Here is a list of some of the conditions associated with Over Pronation:
Hallux Abducto Valgus (bunions) Hallux Rigidus (stiff 1st toe) shoes for pronation Arch Pain Heel Pain (Plantar Fasciitis) Metatarsalgia (ball of the foot pain) Ankle Sprains Shin Splints Achilles Tendonitis Osteochondrosis Knee Pain Corns & Calluses Flat Feet Hammer Toes The appearance of Over-Pronation When standing, your heels lean inward. When standing, one or both of your kneecaps turn inward. Conditions such as flat feet or bunions may occur. You develop knee pain when you are active or involved in athletics. The knee pain slowly goes away when you rest. You abnormally wear out the soles and heels of your shoes very quickly.
HOW IS PRONATION CAUSED? Over-pronation is very prominent in people who have flexible, flat feet. The framework of the foot begins to collapse, causing the foot to flatten and adding stress to other parts of the foot. As a result, over-pronation often leads to Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spurs, Metatarsalgia, Post-tib Tendonitis and/or Bunions.
There are many causes of flat feet. Obesity, pregnancy or repetitive pounding on a hard surface can weaken the arch leading to over-pronation. Often people with flat feet do not experience discomfort immediately, and some never suffer from any discomfort at all. However, when symptoms develop and become painful, walking becomes awkward and causes increased strain.
Pronation can be present at birth or develop at an early age and is often a hereditary condition. In some people, however, pronation develops as a symptom of foot abuse from any of the following factors:
Weakened muscles due to aging or heavy strain placed on the feet may cause pronation. Standing or walking for long periods in high heels can lead to pronation. Wearing shoes that don’t provide proper arch support may be a contributing factor to the development of pronation.
HOW IS PRONATION TREATED? Over-Pronation can be treated conservatively (non-surgical treatments) with orthotics that are designed with appropriate arch support and/or medial rearfoot posting to prevent the over-pronation.
Footwear should also be examined to ensure there is a proper fit. Footwear with a firm heel counter and a rigid mid-sole or shank is often recommended for extra support and stability. Improperly fitting footwear can lead to additional foot problems.
BEST SHOES FOR PRONATION We carry a wide variety of shoes and sandals for pronation. Many of the supportive shoes and sandals we carry have great support and accommodate orthotics which is very helpful for pronation. The best shoes for pronation support the foot and have stiff soles. Additionally, shoes for pronation usually have a steel or plastic shank for additional support. Shoes for pronation should have a very rigid sole and a stiff heel counter.
BEST ARCH SUPPORTS FOR PRONATION We have a wide variety of arch supports for pronation. The best arch support for pronation will control pronation, and be adjustable to meet your individual needs. The best insoles for pronation usually are custom molded and have rear foot postings to help control the amount the arch falls when you take a step. We have over the counter arch supports and molded orthotics which helps reduce the pain associated with pronation. Make an appointment today with a specialist to find out which pronation arch support is best for you!