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PROBLEMS CAUSED BY OVER-PRONATION

When the arch of the foot collapses excessively downward or inward, this is known as over-pronation.  The way a person’s foot strikes the ground can have significant effects on their body.  Due to lack of proper arch support, people who over-pronate are susceptible to more injuries than people with normal pronation.

Pronation and Over-Pronation

Pronation refers to the foot’s natural way of moving from side to side when a person walks or runs. It occurs as the weight is transferred from the heel to the ball of the foot as a person goes through their walking gait or running stride and specifically refers to the amount that the foot rolls inward toward the arch. Although some pronation is normal, over-pronation can cause various injuries.

Over-pronation is generally caused by either flat or very flexible feet, which people are often born with. However, there are also conditions and situations that can increase a person’s chances of developing flat feet or weakened arches, which can lead to over-pronation. These conditions and situations include (FootSmart):

  • being pregnant
  • being overweight or obese
  • taking part in any activity, such as running, that involves repeatedly striking the foot on a hard surface for an extended period

Over-Pronation and injuries

Over-pronation puts people at an increased risk of developing specific injuries. This is because it disrupts the body’s natural alignment and causes increased impact when the foot strikes the ground. Injuries that frequently occur in people with over-pronation include: (HealthLine)

Diagnosis

Visiting a podiatrist, chiropractor or pedorthist can validate your condition of over-pronation, however many people can self-assess by using one of the following methods:

  1. Look at your feet while standing. If there is no clear space between the foot and the floor where the arch should be, you likely over-pronate.
  2. Check the wear pattern of your shoes. If the majority of the wear is on the inner part of the shoes, you are likely a person with over-pronation.
  3. Analyze your footprint after taking a few steps with bare, wet feet. A person with normal pronation will see their heel print connected to the toe prints with about half of their foot width. A person who over-pronates will see their heel print connected with the full width of their foot.

Treatment options

Once diagnosed, you should see a specialist for if you are experiencing pain or a chronic injury, especially if you have tried to self-correct the problem in the past. A specialist can recommend treatment options that may help solve the problem. There are numerous treatment options available for over-pronation, however the main ones often prescribed are: (Active.com) 

1. Choosing Supportive Shoes - A person with over-pronation should take extra care when selecting shoes, particularly when picking shoes for any activity that involves repeated foot strikes, such as running or walking. Anyone with over-pronation should look for shoes that offer extra support and stability so that the shoes minimize the impact of each step (Podiatry Today). (https://www.podiatrytoday.com/article/5664A) person with over-pronation looking for supportive shoes may want to do the following when selecting shoes:

  • have both feet measured
  • shop at the end of the day and end of the week when feet are a little puffy
  • wear thin socks when shopping
  • look for shoes that offer extra arch support
  • A running store that offers some form of walking-style analysis, a podiatrist or pedorthist can recommend good shoes.
2. Wearing Orthotics - Orthotics are special inserts that slip into shoes to offer extra arch support and help minimize the impact of the way someone walks. Over the counter orthotics are available without a prescription and may provide enough support to prevent injuries due to over-pronation. In some cases over-pronation may require custom orthotics, which a podiatrist can order based on an analysis of the person’s walking style.
SelectFlex arch-control insoles offer a customizable option at over-the-counter prices. At approximately ¼ the cost of custom orthotics, SelectFlex provides an adjustable level of dynamic support to the arch that you cannot achieve from either generic or custom static insoles.

3. Exercises for Over-Pronation – Exercises that strengthen the arches and muscles around them can help to not only relieve the ailments caused by over-pronation but can often be used as a preventative measure. These exercises can help support the arches of their feet and the muscles that help support the arches: (Pain Resource) 

  • First position demi plié: Think of a ballet dancer for this exercise. With turnout from the hips, so the feet angle outward and the heels are together, bend your knees while keeping the heels on the floor.
  • Rolling the feet: While standing with feet hip-width apart, roll your weight to the outside of the feet and then back to normal position repeatedly.
  • Seated calf stretch: Tight calf muscles can put too much stress on the Achilles tendons, worsening flat feet. Stretch calf muscles by sitting with your legs extended in front of you with feet flexed. Then hinge forward at the waist and reach for your toes.

Some people cannot prevent over-pronation but can reduce its effect through the use of orthotics and proper footwear as detailed above. You can also help reduce their risk of an injury related to over-pronation by doing the recommended exercises and maintaining a healthy weight.

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WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS? INSOLES, STRETCHES, AND OTHER TREATMENTS

foot treatment

Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of heel pain today. Runners and those who work on their feet are most often affected, but it can cause heel pain in a wide range of people for a number of reasons. If you are feeling the pain of plantar fasciitis, you should consult with a doctor. They are likely to prescribe stretching, over-the-counter medicines, or insoles designed for plantar fasciitis sufferers. Here’s what you need to know if you suspect you have plantar fasciitis.

WHAT IS PLANTAR FASCIITIS?

Plantar fasciitis is when the thick band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot and connects your heel bone to your toes gets inflamed. This band, called the plantar fascia, acts like a shock-absorber, supporting the arch in your foot. But if the tension and stress become too great, it can cause small tears in the fascia. Although the cause in many cases is unclear, repetitive stretching and tearing can cause the fascia to become irritated or inflamed.

People with plantar fasciitis often describe it as a stabbing pain felt during the first steps of the morning as they are getting out of bed. The pain then typically decreases, only to return later in the day, especially after standing for long periods of time or walking after sitting for a long time.

TREATMENT AND PAIN MANAGEMENT

There are a number of ways to treat plantar fasciitis pain, from adding a plantar fasciitis insole to your shoe to surgery. Here are some of the most common, non-invasive treatments.

STRETCHING AND STRENGTHENING

Exercises that stretch the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon and strengthen lower leg muscles will help stabilize the ankle and heel.

TAPING

Physical therapists also use athletic tape to support the bottom of the foot.

NIGHT SPLINTS

Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend a night splint that flexes the foot and stretches the calf and arches while you sleep, holding the plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendon in a lengthened position overnight.

PLANTAR FASCIITIS INSOLES

Orthotic insoles are specially designed to alleviate pain and tension away from the plantar fasciitis tendon with for fitting arch support that distributes pressure more evenly over the footbed throughout the day, providing added comfort.

OVER-THE-COUNTER PAIN RELIEF

Ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can ease the pain and inflammation associated with plantar fasciitis.

APPLY ICE

To reduce inflammation, especially after a long day at work or intense exercise, icing the heel of the foot can help manage pain.

SUPPORTIVE SHOES

Wearing shoes with a supportive heel and that stabilizes the foot is important if you want to manage your foot pain from plantar fasciitis. Footwear like flip flops and high heels are only going to aggravate the problem. According to Dr. Kenneth Jung, an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, California and featured in Prevention Magazine, adding a shoe insert or insole for plantar fasciitis can enhance the effectiveness of the shoes you already own.

Jung says that adding a shoe insert will externally support the arch, thus reducing the stress or load on the arch. Plantar fasciitis insoles also provide a cushy cup for your heel to relieve pressure, and together help make your foot more comfortable.

AT RISK FOR PLANTAR FASCIITIS

People can develop plantar fasciitis without an obvious cause, however, there are factors that increase your risk.

WORKING ON YOUR FEET

Nurses, factory workers, teachers and others who spend most of the work day walking and standing on hard surfaces can damage their plantar fascia.

FOOT MECHANICS

The shape of your foot and how your foot makes contact with the ground can put added stress on the plantar fascia and cause irritation. This can include having flat feet, high arches, and overpronation of the foot.

AGE

People between 40-60 are most likely to be affected by plantar fasciitis. 

HIGH-IMPACT EXERCISE

Any activity that places a lot of stress on the heel can be a contributing factor to plantar fasciitis, including long-distance running, crossfit, and even ballet.

WEIGHT

Adding extra pounds can put stress on your plantar fascia.

Anyone who struggles with the pain of plantar fasciitis, whether it's first thing in the morning or after a long day at work, is looking for simple, affordable relief. If you are experiencing foot pain, your first move should be to see a doctor. You will find there are many treatments for plantar fasciitis that do not require a prescription.