PRONATION

Diagram photo of different areas of the legs that you can feel pain

Do I overpronate?

To start finding out, take a closer look
at your feet.

What areas hurt?
Through a chain reaction, overpronation can cause pain in many areas of your lower body.

A Foot and ankle

B Leg and Knee

C Hip and lower back

Diagnosing overpronation relies more on looking at how you walk or run than where your pain is located. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Overpronation?

Drawn diagram of foot showing overpronation and the pain it can cause

Pronation is a normal part of walking or running. When the outside edge of your heel hits the ground, it supinates—or locks—to deal with the shockwave. Your foot then rolls in a bit and your heel moves outward. Together, these actions cause you to pronate—or unlock. Pronation helps you absorb shock and adapt to uneven surfaces.

But if your foot rolls too far inward, like many people, you overpronate.

Overpronation can cause problems throughout your body. Why? Because the foot isn't properly absorbing the shock of your stride—instead passing that shock on to your legs, knees, hips, and even spine.

Overpronating also forces the inner toes to take on all the work of pushing off for your next step. That can lead to injury or other foot problems including plantar fasciitis, bunions and calluses.

People with flat feet, low arches, or overly flexible arches tend to overpronate. Because your arches can't support your step, your foot rolls too far inward, twisting your foot, leg, and knee and forcing your body out of proper alignment.

Other factors that may contribute to overpronation include:

  • Injury.
  • Tendonitis.
  • Arthritis.
  • Weight increase.
  • Aging.
Think you might overpronate?TAKE THIS SELF-ASSESSMENT
Self- Assessment
Quiz
Do I have:
  • Pain in my feet, legs, knees, hips, or back after walking
    or running?
  • Unusual tightness in my leg muscles?
  • Recurring problems with bunions or calluses?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, you show symptoms that may be caused by overpronation. Are you at a high risk for overpronating? TAKE THE NEXT QUICK QUIZ.

Self- Assessment
Quiz
Do I have:

If you answered yes to any of these, it's possible your symptoms stem from overpronating.

Now, pull out a well-worn pair of your running or
walking shoes.
Self- Assessment
Quiz
Do they:
  • Show uneven, heavier wear on the inside edge of the sole (especially on the heel, midfoot, and the ball of the foot)?
  • Tilt inward when placed on a flat surface?

If you answered yes to either of these, you probably overpronate. Make an appointment with a podiatrist to confirm your condition. Keep reading for recommendations on treatment and relief from the experts at FootSmart and The Podiatry Institute.

ARE THERE ANY SERIOUS CONCERNS WITH Overpronation?

Overpronation is quite common and very correctable. But left unchecked, it could cause:

  • Degenerative wear and tear and chronic discomfort in the knees, hips, or spine.
  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Repetitive injuries.
  • Stress fractures.
  • Arthritis.
How do I treat and prevent overpronation?

Overpronation may just be part of your natural gait. But you can correct it—and avoid the many associated effects—with some simple measures. Your podiatrist will help you determine the best steps for you.

Here are the recommendations from the experts at FootSmart and The Podiatry Institute.

Photo of a comfortable athletic shoe that is recommended for people with overpronation and helps with stability and arch support
Wear Shoes with:
  1. Stability or motion control features.
  2. Arch support and firm midsoles.
  3. Deep heel cups.
  4. Low heels.

Stability shoes, best for mild to moderate overpronators, feature firm midsoles to reduce overpronation. Many of these shoes have something called a post, which is just a small section of even firmer foam under the arch or heel to help further stabilize the foot.

Motion control shoes, best for moderate to severe overpronators, feature stiffer heels and a straighter instep shape—called a last—to control inward motion and counter overpronation.

Other recommendations:

  • Stretch your legs and feet to reduce the extra muscle stress and tightness that overpronation causes.
  • Strengthen your foot muscles through toe curls, heel raises, and other exercises to improve foot support, stability and shock absorption.