One of the most common causes of foot and leg discomfort is a condition known as overpronation. Normal pronation, or "turning inward" of the foot is necessary as the foot adapts to the ground. With
over pronation, the arch flattens, collapses, and soft tissues stretch. This causes the joint surfaces to function at unnatural angles to each other. When this happens, joints that should be stable
now become very loose and flexible. At first, over pronation may cause fatigue. As the problem gets worse, strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the foot and lower leg can cause permanent
problems and deformities.
Excess stress on the inner surface of the foot can cause injury and pain in the foot and ankle. Repeated rotational forces through the shin, knee, thigh and pelvis also place additional strain on the
muscles, tendons and ligaments of the lower leg.
In addition to problems overpronation causes in the feet, it can also create issues in the calf muscles and lower legs. The calf muscles, which attach to the heel via the Achilles tendon, can become
twisted and irritated as a result of the heel rolling excessively toward the midline of the body. Over time this can lead to inflexibility of the calf muscles and the Achilles tendon, which will
likely lead to another common problem in the foot and ankle complex, the inability to dorsiflex. As such, overpronation is intrinsically linked to the inability to dorsiflex.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and activities and examine your feet. Your provider may watch you walk or run. Check the motion of your feet when they strike
the ground. Look at your athletic shoes to see if they show an abnormal pattern of wear.
Non Surgical Treatment
Overpronation is a condition in which the foot rolls excessively down and inward. The arch may elongate and collapse (or ?fall?) and the heel will lean inward. Overpronation should not be confused
with pronation. Pronation is a normal motion of the foot during weight bearing and allows the foot to absorb shock as it contacts the ground.
Massage and stretch the calves to increase dorsiflexion at the foot/ankle. Dorsiflexion is the bending at the ankle. By improving the dorsiflexion, one will have more flexibility at the ankle, which
will allow the foot to over-pronate less. Massage the IT Band with a foam roller or tennis ball to quiet down the tightness throughout this part of the leg. The IT Band attaches from the glute
maximus and runs down the side of the leg into the knee area. When the IT Band is tight it will accelerate the force of the leg moving inward, which will cause the foot to move inward as well. It is
often that tightness through the IT Band that promotes over-pronation. Decreasing over-pronation, which is very prominent in runners, will help add endurance, speed and efficiency to your run and
ultimately place less stress on your body.