Over Pronation (Flat Feet) refers to the biomechanical shock-absorbing motion of the ankle, foot and lower leg. It is the natural inward flexing motion of the lower leg and ankle. Standing, walking,
and running cause the ankle joint to pronate which in turn helps the body to absorb shock and allows it to control balance. An ankle joint that is too flexible causes more pronation than desired.
This common condition is called Over- Pronation (sometimes referred to as "Flat Feet"). This foot condition places an extreme degree of strain on various connective tissues of the ankle, foot, and
knee. If this condition is not addressed foot pain and toe deformities such as bunions and hammer toes (just to name a couple) may develop. Hip and lower back pain may also be residual results from
Overpronation often occurs in people with flat feet, whose plantar fascia ligament is too flexible or too long, and therefore unable to properly support the longitudinal arch of the foot. People tend
to inherit the foot structure that leads to overpronation. In a normal foot the bones are arranged so that two arches are formed, the longitudinal and the transverse. Ligaments hold all the bones in
their correct positions, and tendons attach muscles to bones. If the bones are held together too loosely, they will tend to move inwards as this is the easiest direction for them to go. Over time the
soft tissue structures will adjust to the misalignment and the foot will become permanently over-flexible, with a flat arch.
Common conditions seen with overpronation include heel pain or plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonopathy, hallus valgus and or bunions, patellofemoral pain syndrome, Iliotibial band pain syndrome, low
back pain, shin splints, stress fractures in the foot or lower leg.
When you overpronate your foot rolls inwards causing the lower leg to rotate inwards too. It's thought that this increases stress on the soft tissues of the lower leg causing pain and inflammation,
or more commonly known as shin splints.
Non Surgical Treatment
The following exercises help retrain the foot and ankle complex to correct overpronation. Exercises may be performed while wearing shoes, or for an even greater challenge, in bare feet. Duck Stand.
This exercise is designed to prepare for the more dynamic BT exercises ahead by waking up the gluteal muscles and teaching clients how the gluteal muscles control the degree of foot pronation. For
example, when the glutes contract concentrically, they rotate the leg outward. As the leg rotates outward, the arch of the foot raises (i.e., supinates). Stand beside the BT with both heels together
and feet turned outward. (Note: As you progress, perform this exercise while standing on the BT.) Try to rotate legs outward by tightening buttock muscles while tilting pelvis under. As legs rotate
outward, arches of the feet raise up out of pronation. Hold position for 30 seconds. Big Toe Pushdowns. This exercise is designed to strengthen the muscle of the big toe that holds up the arch of the
foot (i.e., flexor hallucis longus muscle). This stops the foot from overpronating. Stand on top of the BT dome with feet facing forward. Use gluteal muscles to raise the arches of the feet (see
previous exercise - "Duck Stand"). Keep arches raised while pushing down big toe into the BT. While pushing down, tension build in the arch on the underside of their foot should be felt. Hold
position for 15 seconds.
Depending on the severity of your condition, your surgeon may recommend one or more treatment options. Ultimately, however, it's YOUR decision as to which makes the most sense to you. There are many
resources available online and elsewhere for you to research the various options and make an informed decision.