Do you have a problem with wearing out the insides of the soles of your shoes? If so, it may be that you have overpronation of your feet. Most of us don’t think twice about how our feet hit the ground when we walk or run, because it is just something we are used to doing all the time. But, how your feet hit the ground has a huge role in your health, especially if you are into sports, such as running. If you think this may be an issue for you, and you are a runner who wants to run marathons, read on to learn more about overpronation and what to do about it.
What is Overpronation?
The term pronation means flattening of the feet. If your foot rolls inwards when you step, you have overpronation, or your feet flatten too much when you step. This basically means that the outside edge of your heel hits the ground before any other part of the foot, and then your foot rolls toward the inside so your arch touches the ground.
Overpronation causes the arch to flatten and stretch, as well as muscle, ligament, and tendon strain. If there is overpronation, it can lead to numerous injuries, including sprained ankles, shin splints, heel spurs, Achilles tendonitis, and plantar fasciitis.
Do Your Feet Overpronate?
The easiest way to find out if you overpronate is to look at your shoes. If the bottoms have a lot of wear and tear towards the inside edge, at the ball of the foot and the big toe, chances are it is because of overpronation. The next thing to do is look at your feet while they are bare. If the arches are low or your feet are very flat, you likely have overpronation.
Look at Your Shins
Another way you can tell if you overpronate is by looking at your shins. Does the line of the bone go in a straight line from the knee to the first or second toe, or does the line lead to the inner part of the foot? If it is leading to the inside of the foot, you may have a problem with overpronation.
See a Doctor or Physical Therapist
Other symptoms of overpronation can include corns or calluses, pain in the arch and heel, hammer toes, and knee, back, or hip pain. If you have any of these symptoms and you think you overpronate, the next step is to see a podiatrist or a physical therapist and have them perform a video gait analysis. This test involves recording a video of you walking or running on a treadmill. The footage is slowed down so it can be viewed carefully by the doctor or physical therapist, and they will be able to tell if you overpronate.
Another test for overpronation is 3D foot mapping. This involves standing on a special mat, barefoot. There are sensors in the mat that provide information about how your feet hit the ground while walking. Many running stores offer these tests in order to help you make sure you choose the right athletic shoes.
Just because you overpronate, it doesn’t mean that running a marathon is going to be out of the question. You just need to make sure you are wearing the proper footwear or orthotics that will keep you from overpronating. Orthotics are inserts that can be purchased over-the-counter, or by prescription.
How Orthotics Work
Orthotics are used to give the arch the right amount of support, so there is no overpronation when you walk or run. Using orthotics can help to ease a lot of pain that is caused by overpronation, because you will be walking straighter.
Obviously, the prescription orthotics would be the best option, because they are made specifically for your feet, but they are also a lot more expensive. If you have health insurance, it may cover orthotic devices, or at least part of the cost. In addition to orthotics, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or a trip to see a chiropractor to help work on changing your gait.
Choosing the Right Shoes
Sometimes, treating overpronation can be as simple as wearing the right shoes. It is a good idea to see a podiatrist or visit a running store to have an analysis done so you can learn what type of shoes you need for this problem. Both feet should be measured to ensure that you are getting a perfect fit, so make sure the sizing includes both the width and the length of your feet.
It is best to shop for shoes towards the end of the day, because feet tend to swell throughout the day. If a shoe fits in the morning, it may be too tight in the evening. Also, make sure you are wearing the type of socks you normally wear to ensure that you get the right fit. Never buy shoes that feel tight. If necessary, buy the next size or half-size up.
The best type of shoes for overpronation are stability shoes, and there are also some athletic shoes that fit this description These will evenly distribute the impact as you step, which will make you less likely to overpronate. These shoes are also referred to as motion control shoes, and they have extra cushioning and arch support.
Exercises that Help Treat Overpronation
If you are sent to a physical therapist to have overpronation treated, they will give you a variety of strengthening exercises that will help to support the arches and the muscles around them. It is important to do these exercises regularly, and not just during physical therapy sessions in order to get the best results.
It is important that you visit a doctor if you are experiencing pain or repeated injuries because you overpronate. You will be given the best options for treatment, so you can get on with your life without the pain caused by overpronation, and continue training for marathon running without the risk of further injuries.