The human body conducts many biomechanical processes that you do not likely give much thought to because they take place automatically. When you decide to go for a run, you think about what to wear, how far you will go, and maybe even how you are going to warm up. What you probably do not consider is pronation and the potential impact this movement can have on your body. We want you to be able to identify symptoms of pronation problems, though, so that you can get the help you need when it happens.
When we tell you about how your ankle rolls inward when you run, it might sound like a bad thing. This is not the case at all. Pronation, which is that inward rolling, is a completely natural and necessary component of running. This biomechanical process is used to absorb shock, support your body weight, and push off evenly with the front of your foot.
It is entirely possible that you never thought much about the process that happens with every step, but when your heel hits the ground, your foot rolls inward about 15 percent and your arch flattens. The roll continues until the final push comes from the front of your foot and toes.
With a normal, neutral pronation, you are not likely to experience any of the symptoms of pronation problems. When the rolling motion is either excessive or lacking, though, there are often issues.
Essentially, there are two different general types of pronation issues: overpronation and underpronation (also called supination).
With overpronation, the foot rolls excessively—beyond the ideal 15 percent—and the shock of impact is not absorbed efficiently. This condition also results in the foot and ankle experiencing difficulty in stabilizing the body, along with the big toe and second toe doing all of the pushing off, instead of all five toes. Overpronation can lead to problems in the ankle, knee, and hip joints, as they are forced to move in an unnatural manner.
Supination, on the other hand, is a matter of the foot not rolling sufficiently. When this happens, the forces of impact are centered on the outside of the foot, which is a comparatively small area. With the inefficient distribution of force, extra stress is placed upon the foot. This makes Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures more likely to occur.
The pronation issues, both over- and underpronation, actually stem from arch issues. If you have flat feet or low arches, you are more likely to overpronate. If your arches are high, you probably underpronate. Correcting the symptoms of pronation problems revolves around helping your arches out.
Before you make an appointment to come in and see us, it is worth taking your new knowledge of pronation and the effects of foot arches to a store geared towards runners. The staff at these specialty stores will be able to steer you towards models that are designed especially for people who over- or underpronate. If you try shoes that are intended to control motion and provide greater arch support and they do not help, then it is time to see the experts at Achilles Foot and Ankle Specialists.
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When you come in to receive the first-class treatment and care that you have come to expect from us, we will analyze your gait and take measurements of your feet in order to create a customized pair of orthotics just for you. These prescribed medical devices are not the same as the inserts that are mass-produced and sold in retail stores. Our orthotics will conform to the contours of your feet and provide the unique arch support and motion control that you need.