One of the most common causes of foot and leg discomfort is a condition known as overpronation. Normal pronation, or "turning inward" of the foot is necessary as the foot adapts to the ground. With
over pronation, the arch flattens, collapses, and soft tissues stretch. This causes the joint surfaces to function at unnatural angles to each other. When this happens, joints that should be stable
now become very loose and flexible. At first, over pronation may cause fatigue. As the problem gets worse, strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the foot and lower leg can cause permanent
problems and deformities.
A common cause of pronation is heredity - we can inherit this biomechanical defect. The second most common cause is due to the way our feet were positioned in the uterus while we were developing;
this is called a congenital defect. In either instance, the following occurs in our feet during our development.
Eventually, over-pronation can lead to a full list of maladies including flat feet, plantar fasciitis, plantar fibroma, neuromas, heel spurs, shin splints, ankle sprains, bunions, hammertoes,
calluses, and pain in the arches, knee, hip and lower back. But it doesn?t have to go that far, because there are steps we can take to correct the over-pronation. In the vast majority of cases, we?ll
prescribe custom foot orthotics, which will realign your ankles, redistribute the weight, support the arch and reduce the twisting. Many orthotics will fit snugly into your normal shoes. Although
we?ll also take a look at the type of shoes you wear to see if they are contributing to the problem.
Look at your soles of your footwear: Your sneaker/shoes will display heavy wear marks on the outside portion of the heel and the inside portion above the arch up to the top of the big toe on the
sole. The "wet-foot" test is another assessment. Dip the bottom of your foot in water and step on to a piece of paper (brown paper bag works well). Look at the shape of your foot. If you have a lot
of trouble creating an arch, you likely overpronate. An evaluation from a professional could verify your foot type.
Non Surgical Treatment
Studies have shown that the most effective way to dexrease a high Q angle and lower the biomechanical stresses on the knee joint is to prevent excessive pronation with custom-maflexible orthotics.
One study found that using soft corrective orthotics was more effective in reduknee pain than a traditional exercise program. A more recent study showed that Q angle asymmetries, secondary to
excessive pronation affecting knee alignment, can be effectivecontrolled or corrected utilizing custom-made, flexible orthotics. Another project involving meof a running club determined that 75% of
those using orthotics eliminated or greatly reduced pain in the feet, ankles, shins, knees and hips
Strengthen the glutes to slow down the force of the foot moving too far inward. Most individuals who over-pronate have weak glute muscles and strengthening this area is a must. A simple exercise to
strengthen glutes is lateral tube walking across a field/court/room. Place a lateral stretch band around your ankles and move your leg sideways while keeping your feet forward.