Pronation Problems

What Is Pronation?

Pronation refers to the way your foot rolls to distribute the force of impact when you walk or run. Essentially, the foot rolls inward. When pronation is happening as it should, it’s a normal and useful part of the way the body moves.

Unfortunately, it doesn’talways happen as it should, and then you get the phenomenon called supination. Supination can take the form of either overpronation or underpronation.

Pronation of the foot

Overpronated feet are feet that roll inward too far when you step. Underpronated feet don’t roll as far as they should.

Either form of supination can lead to chronic, painful conditions in the lower body. In fact,

Consequences of Improper Pronation

Underpronated and overpronated feet often develop deteriorated soft tissue. As you might expect, they hurt, and in time pain and mobility problems are likely to affect the ankles, calves, and knees as well.

Eventually the pain can even work its way into the lower back, leading some sufferers to believe that this part of the body is actually the core problem and wondering why their efforts to address it bring little relief.

Improper pronation also means you’re not standing, moving, or distributing your body weight in an optimal way. When that’s the case, you’re more likely to injure yourself when playing sports, engaging in vigorous exercise, or even just going about your day-to-day activities.

Why Does Pronation Happen?

The body often develops overpronated or underpronated feet as a result of the following:

  • Poor running form.
  • Overuse.
  • Weakness or stiffness, possibly as a result of aging
  • Muscular compensation in response to old injuries or bad posture
  • Cartilage loss in the subtalar joint (where foot and ankle meet)
  • Dysfunction of or damage to the tibialis posterior tendon (which attaches calf muscles to the bones on the inside of the feet

How Do You Tell if You Have Pronation Problems?

Overpronation and underpronation are likely to create the following symptoms:

  • Pain that starts in the feet and moves upward, possibly going as high as the back before it’s through. This usually happen after the sufferer walks, runs, or stands for long periods of time.
  • Stiffness, loss of function, and reduction of mobility in the foot or lower body.
  • Swollen ankles or heels.

Overpronation vs. Underpronation

As you might expect, the two types of supination don’t always produce absolutely identical results.

A person with overpronated feet is more likely to experience stress fractures and runner’s knee.

An individual with underpronated feet is more likely to experience iliotibial band syndrome of the knees and general instability.

Both, however, are prone to Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and foot pain.

Do You Have Pronation Problems?

It’s useful to detect supination before it starts producing serious problems. To do this, you take off your shoes and socks, stand straight, and see what your legs are doing, Your feet and knees should point straight ahead, and your toes should only have a minor external rotation outward. They too should point forward.

You can draw lines down the fronts of your legs to aid in this assessment. The lines should look straight.

Of course, a medical professional is the best person to provide a definitive diagnosis of overpronated or underpronated feet. The professional will be especially concerned with any signs of nerve damage or loss of function.

What You Can Do to Correct Pronation Problems

If you catch supination in the early stages, there may be a lot you can do to address it. Consider these seven measures:

  • Improve your posture and walking/running form. Bear in mind that your poor posture and form may well have been developing for years. You aren’t going to perfect them in a day, so be patient with yourself and the process. YouTube is a good resource for videos on proper posture and form.
  • Stretch your legs frequently and effectively.Calf raises, ankle rolls, and toe touches can all be useful countermeasures to supination. Yoga can be quie effective.
  • Wear high-quality support shoes (and get rid of worn-out ones).
  • Take care of bunions and calluses. Your automatic response to the discomfort of bunions and calluses can make pronation problems worse. Break the cycle by padding the bunions and calluses and wearing wider shoes. Icing can eliminate persistent pain, and elevating your foot fights swelling, as does a foot massage with anti-inflammatory essential oils.
  • Loosen and strengthen lower body muscles with exercises like the crab walk, squats, lunges (front and side), uphill walking, and spinning.
  • Consult a physical therapist specializing in soft tissue massage.

Medical Interventions for Pronation Problems

Sadly, while the above measures help many people, they don’t eliminate supination problems for everyone. The pronation issues may be too severe or too far advanced. Doctors often first attempt to address overpronation and underpronation by prescribing orthopedic shoes and possibly physical therapy.

In the past, if those remedies proved inadequate, physicians saw no alternative but to resort to invasive surgery followed by what often proved to be a long, painful recovery period.

Fortunately, today the cutting-edge therapy known as stem cell recruitment therapy offers a non-invasive alternative. Using the body’s own naturally occurring stem cells and stem cells derived from amniotic fluid, it grows new healthy tissue to replace damaged tissue, and the recovery time is effectively nil.

Stem cell recruitment therapy can be used to address a wide range of conditions including problems with the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, shoulders, hips, and knees as well as the foot pronation problems we’ve been discussing here.

If you’d like to learn more about foot pronation or how stem cell recruitment therapy might be used to address your foot supination issues, we invite you to contact the Pain Relief Institute for a consultation.