Overpronation of Foot: Mechanism of Injury, Diagnosis, Treatment- Gait Analysis, Orthotics
Overpronation is a condition where there is excessive pronation of foot or where there is flattening or inward rolling of foot. Pronation occur when subtalar joint moves into eversion which means the sole turns outwards, dorsiflexion which means toes pointing upwards, and abduction which means toes pointing to sides. While standing, there is pronation when the foot rolls in the inward direction and foot arch is flattened. Pronation is normal with gait cycle. It acts as a shock absorber. Supination is opposite of pronation. Supination is also normal with gait cycle and if done excessively then it is known as oversupination, which also causes problems.
Mechanism of Injury during Overpronation of Foot
Overpronation is a condition where there is excessive pronation and this leads to problems. It is actually quite common in athletes and leads to many injuries, especially in sprinters. Overpronation commonly results in overuse type of injuries. Runners are more frequently affected with this condition. During walking or running, a normal foot pronates and lower leg, knee, and thigh all rotate medially and if an athlete who has an overpronated foot starts running it results in excessive rotation movement. This excessive stress placed on the medial surface of foot due to overpronation causes injury and pain in foot and ankle. Repetitive rotational forces in shin, knee, and thigh causes added stress on muscles, tendons and ligaments of lower leg.
Diagnosis for Overpronation of Foot
- Observe your feet when standing. If a clear arch on inside of foot is not present and the inner part of sole touches the floor, then it means you have overpronation of the feet.
- Next, observe your shoes that you use while running. If there is wear and tear in the inside area of sole, then you have a problem with overpronation.
- Another way of finding out is wet foot test. Soak your feet in water and walk a few steps. Observe your footprints. In normal foot, the print of the heel is joined to forefoot by a band which is about half the width of foot on the outside portion of sole. In case of overpronation, there may be very less difference between the hind foot and forefoot.
Treatment of Overpronation of Foot
- Getting a gait analysis done by podiatrists, physiotherapists or sports therapists of your running style helps in distinguishing between overpronation, oversupination and neutral gait.
- If you suffer from overpronation, then having extra support in shoes helps. Running shoes with a firm material on inside of midsole help in supporting inside of foot and prevent it from overpronating.
- In severe cases of overpronation, orthotic devices can be fitted. Most of the times patients can use the orthotic insoles that can be bought from the market but some patients may require custom made orthotic devices which can be prescribed by a sports injury therapist or a podiatrist.