How Flat Feet Affect Pronation

Given that you likely use thousands of steps every single day to get around, it’s easy to take for granted the motion your feet go through when you walk, jog, or run. The basic path of movement your foot follows is called pronation, and this biomechanical movement is affected by foot arches, especially when feet are flat.

Pronation is a biomechanical action that enables the body to handle the pressure incurred during walking and running. (Your lower limbs face forces up to 2x’s your bodyweight during walking, and even more when you run!) This action happens as the foot progresses from heel strike through the final push from your toes. Your foot’s arch flattens and becomes elongated as the foot moves through the ground portion of the step. This motion enables the foot to roll inward and absorb the shock.

Overpronation is what we call it when your feet roll past the neutral position after the shock of impact has occurred. In this situation, that shock is not absorbed efficiently, and the foot and ankle may have issues stabilizing the body. Additionally, excessive pronation causes bones and muscles in the lower limbs to take on additional force loads – which can cause and contribute to stress fractures and shin splints.

In addition to increased risk of stress fractures and shin splints, other injuries that are sometimes attributed to overpronation include plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and tarsal tunnel syndrome. This common biomechanical flaw might also lead to problems with your ankle, knee, and hip joints. Increased stress on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons (as the limb rotates inward farther than it should) contributes to pain in these joints.

If your overpronation is not particularly severe, you may benefit from simply choosing a pair of shoes catered to your condition. Most major shoe companies have offerings that are engineered to help those who overpronate. Stability shoes offer greater motion control and arch support to help prevent you from overpronating.

For more severe cases, and our gait analysis can determine if this applies to you, may recommend custom orthotics. These inserts are custom-built for your feet and provide the support you need, unlike over-the-counter models that are not made to fit your unique foot contours.

If you have pronation issues that are causing pain, we can help. Contact Anderson Foot & Ankle in Salt Lake City by calling (801) 269-9939 to schedule an appointment, or connect with us online right now!

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