Flat Feet and Foot Pronation

Foot pronation is a normal part of the running and walking process, but the problems of flat feet or high arches can cause a normal foot pronation to change drastically. Overpronation is the result of fallen arches and can be an extremely painful condition and may prevent a person from exercising. This can lead to weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle, which can lead to further problems of flat feet and foot pronation. On the flipside is underpronation that is due to high arches and may cause discomfort for runners or joggers, too. This cycle is very much like a treadmill of cause and effect, but there are things that can be done to help eliminate the problems of faulty foot pronation.

Foot pronation - Flat feet and overpronation

Pronation is the normal way the foot absorbs shock. As the heel strikes the ground the foot rolls forward and slightly inward which cushions and distributes force along the foot. For those with fallen arches, this leads to overpronation. The foot rolls forward too much and excessively towards the inside. This means that the big toe and second toe are used almost exclusively to push off. Not only is stability a problem, but the constant use of the muscles on one side of the foot lead to pain and discomfort.

Foot pronation - High arches and underpronation

Those runners that have an unusually high arch suffer in a similar manner. As normal foot pronation rolls the foot forward and towards the inside, those with high arches underpronate meaning that the foot rolls too far inwards. The shock is distributed along the outer side of the foot and pushing off along the outside creates the next step. This uneven motion puts excessive pressure on the outside part of the foot. Stability is compromised and, again, it can lead to pain.

Treatments for flat feet and high arches

Fortunately, today there are advances in science that allow for corrective measures to take place. Foot pronation can be controlled by motion control shoes and special custom shoe inserts in the form of sports orthotics or orthotic arch supports. Overpronation caused by flat feet can be improved with motion control shoes and better support. Similarly, those who underpronate will find relief by a neutral cushion shoe which allows for better foot movement and will encourage the foot to roll forward more fully allowing for proper kickoff, stability, and shock absorption.

Detecting what type of foot pronation you have is as simple as examining a pair of old running or walking shoes. Telltale signs of wear along the big toe and heel will likely indicate overpronation and fallen or low arches. Similarly, those with a wear pattern that covers the outer part of the sole are likely sufferers of underpronation and need to work on rolling the foot forward more when they exercise. Foot and ankle pain is not joke. Shoe inserts may help, but a visit to a foot specialist is recommended. Often a custom fit orthotic is needed to achieve proper stability and pain relief. Mobility is important. If a person feels their foot pronation is unnatural, don't delay and make an appointment today.