What happens to objects when you put pressure or wear and tear unevenly on different sides? The side experiencing more weight wears down much more quickly than the other. You would see this clearly if you rode your bicycle in just one direction around a track over and over again; the side of the wheel that faced the direction you were turning would eventually become smooth and worn. This can actually happen to your feet as well, though not because you repeatedly run one direction around a track. Sometimes your feet do not land evenly when you take a step—they can roll to one side. This causes gait issues and uneven pressure on your feet. Eventually, the strain does take a toll on your foot’s structures.
Overpronation is an excessive in-rolling of the foot associated with fallen arches. The arch can fall for many reasons—added body weight from pregnancy or obesity, repeated impact on hard surfaces, or nerve or muscular problems. As the arch flattens it isn’t able to support the foot well while standing or moving. The foot instead rolls inward with every step, putting extra pressure on the ankle, the ball of the foot, the tendon along the sole, and the bones that make up the arch. These structures then have to work harder to support the body’s weight and push off the ground to move effectively. This can lead to overuse injuries or other conditions in those structures, such as plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, ankle sprains, bunions, metatarsalgia, and even tendinitis.
You may not have any pain from your overpronation at first. However, as time passes and the strain put on your feet increases, you may develop pain in the affected tissues. You might even develop discomfort in your knees or hips—the inward rotation pulls the whole foot out of alignment, which in turn affects the positioning of the rest of the leg.
Relieving the Strain and Pain
Dr. Robert Parker of Parker Foot & Ankle can evaluate your gait and standing position to determine if you overpronate, and if it is causing you additional problems. Once you have been diagnosed, he can discuss treatment options to eliminate your foot pain and increase your arch efficiency. Changing shoes can make a significant difference. Switching to shoes that stabilize and support your arch helps. The footwear should also hold the heel firmly so that you don’t slide around in the shoe. Custom orthotics that are made specifically for your feet also hold the arch and help your feet properly distribute your body weight when you step, relieving pain. Some physical therapy exercises may also be beneficial; they stretch and strengthen the muscles in your feet so that they can keep the foot stable.
The pain and complications that arise from overpronation don’t have to cause you problems. This in-rolling can be easily cared for with a little attention and treatment. Dr. Robert Parker can help you develop the best treatment plan for your needs so your feet are stabilized and your arches held in their proper position. Don’t wait and let your foot pain get worse, or even cause complications, before seeking help. Contact Parker Foot & Ankle for an appointment or more information by calling our Houston office at (281) 497-2850.