Do You Overpronate When You Walk or Run?

Normal walking can be divided into two phases: stance and swing. Stance is the time that your foot is in contact with the ground. This is when problems usually occur. Swing is the time the opposite, non weight bearing foot is in the air.

Diagnosing overpronation relies more on looking at how you walk or run than where your pain is located.

What is Overpronation?

Pronation is a normal part of walking or running. When the outside edge of your heel hits the ground, it supinates—or locks—to deal with the shockwave. Your foot then rolls in a bit and your heel moves outward. Together, these actions cause you to pronate—or unlock. Pronation helps you absorb shock and adapt to uneven surfaces.

But if your foot rolls too far inward, like many people, you overpronate.

Overpronation can cause problems throughout your body. Why? Because the foot isn’t properly absorbing the shock of your stride—instead passing that shock on to your legs, knees, hips, and even spine.

Overpronating also forces the inner toes to take on all the work of pushing off for your next step. That can lead to injury or other foot problems including plantar fasciitis, bunions and calluses.

People with flat feet, low arches, or overly flexible arches tend to overpronate. Because your arches can’t support your step, your foot rolls too far inward, twisting your foot, leg, and knee and forcing your body out of proper alignment.

Other factors that may contribute to overpronation include:

  • Injury.
  • Tendonitis.
  • Arthritis.
  • Weight increase.
  • Aging.
Think you might overpronate? Try this simple 3-part self-assessment quiz.

Question #1: Do I have:

  • Pain in my feet, legs, knees, hips, or back after walking or running?
  • Unusual tightness in my leg muscles?
  • Recurring problems with bunions or calluses?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, you show symptoms that may be caused by overpronation. Are you at a high risk for overpronating.

Question #2:  Do I have:

  • Flat feet or low arches?
  • Tendonitis?
  • Arthritis?

If you answered yes to any of these, it’s possible your symptoms stem from overpronating. Now, pull out a well-worn pair of your running or
walking shoes. Try this last self- assessment quiz.

Question #3: Do your shoes:

  • Show uneven, heavier wear on the inside edge of the sole (especially on the heel, midfoot, and the ball of the foot)?
  • Tilt inward when placed on a flat surface?

If you answered yes to either of these, you probably overpronate. Make an appointment with a podiatrist to confirm your condition.

The good news is Overpronation is quite common and very correctable. But left unchecked, it could cause:
  • Degenerative wear and tear and chronic discomfort in the knees, hips, or spine
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Repetitive injuries
  • Stress fractures
  • Arthritis
How do I treat and prevent overpronation?

Overpronation may just be part of your natural gait. But you can correct it—and avoid the many associated effects—with some simple measures. Your podiatrist will help you determine the best steps for you. For general foot health it’s best to wear shoes with:

  1. Good arch support
  2. Firm midsoles
  3. Deep heel cups
  4. Low heels

Lastly, if you want to help prevent future stress on your feet be sure to see – recognized and approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association– for top style and comfort in footwear.

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