For individuals over the age of 2 years, walking is probably something that is not given much thought (unless things go terribly wrong). As such, there is a decent chance that you might be unfamiliar with the process that your foot goes through with every step—pronation. This biomechanical motion is necessary for handling stressful forces, but there can also be pronation problems when it is performed in an abnormal fashion.
What is Pronation?
Your body endures a tremendous amount of force when you walk throughout the course of the day. A typical day for an average person consists of around 8,000-10,000 steps. This is significant because the force of impact from a step while walking is one and a half times your body weight (and that jumps up to 3 to 4 times when running!). This means your feet take a total amount of force on a daily basis equivalent to several hundred tons!
With that in mind, it becomes clear that your body needs processes to effectively handle the physical stress. This is where pronation comes into play. Your feet utilize a rolling motion that begins with the heel striking the ground and continues all the way up to the final push from the toes. The purpose of this motion is to distribute forces in an equitable manner.
Arch and Pronation Styles
Your individual arch style plays a major role in how you pronate. Basically, if you have a moderate, “normal” arch, your pronation style is also moderate. Individuals with low arches have a tendency to overpronate and those with high arches do the opposite (supinate).
- Neutral pronation. In this moderate style, the feet roll approximately fifteen percent from the point of heel strike to the final push of the toes. This is considered to be the most efficient of the variations.
- Overpronation. When the rolling motion is excessive, it is said that an individual overpronates. If this is your pronation style, you can observe heavy wear on the inside edges of your shoes, especially in the front and back areas.
- Supination. Whereas someone who overpronates has an excessive rolling motion, the opposite is true for one who supinates. This means that the feet roll less than the optimal fifteen percent we find in a neutral style. The wear pattern on your shoes will be greatest on the outside edges. Out of the three types, this tends to be the rarest.
Complications from Pronation
Common issues experienced by those who overpronate include heel pain (plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis), calluses, and bunions. This pronation style also can lead to pain in the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and even the back. When the foot rotates excessively, it forces the other lower body parts to move in an unnatural fashion.
Individuals who supinate often experience plantar fasciitis, iliotibial band syndrome, and Achilles tendinitis. Also, due to the increased amount of force placed upon bones in the feet and ankles, stress fractures are more common for those with this biomechanical abnormality.
Treatment for Pronation Problems
Your first step with treating issues from pronation abnormalities is to ensure that you have the proper footwear. Shoe manufacturers create models specifically designed for individuals who either overpronate or supinate. Purchase your shoes from stores that are staffed with knowledgeable individuals who can guide you to the styles that work best for you.
In addition to wearing proper shoes, you may benefit from a pair of custom orthotics. These medical devices fit into your shoes, are based on your feet and gait style, and correct abnormalities with your pronation. Dr. Kevin Sunshein can craft a pair that works for you and your unique feet. Also, our office provides treatment for any issues—like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, bunions—that arise on account of biomechanical abnormalities.
Expert Podiatric Care for Pronation Issues
When pronation issues—whether on account of overpronation or supination—lead to pain or interfere with your ability to do activities that you enjoy doing, it is time to seek help. If you live in Centerville, OH (or any of the surrounding communities), request an appointment with us online today or give us a call at (937) 435-7477 for more information.
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