Overpronated (Flat) Feet
What are Overpronated Feet?
There are a few ways to describe your foot and ankle position as you step. One of these is overpronation, which means that your foot and ankle roll inwards as you step. When you step in overpronation, the outer edge of your heel hits the ground first and then your foot rolls inward onto the arch of your foot. Pronation means flattening of the feet, so essentially overpronation means over-flattening your feet.
What Causes Overpronated Feet?
Overpronation commonly occurs in people with flexible, flat feet. There are many causes of flat feet including obesity, pregnancy, or repetitive contact on hard surfaces that weaken the arch of the foot.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Overpronated Feet?
People with flat feet often do not experience discomfort immediately, and some never do at all. However, symptoms include:
Heel or arch pain
Corns or calluses
Knee, hip, or back pain
Hammer toes (curled toes due to a bend in the middle joint of the toe)
Another sign of overpronation can be discovered by looking at your shins. The line of your shin bone should run from your knee straight down to your ankle and should point to your first or second toe. If this line leads to the inner side of your foot, you may be overpronating.
How are Overpronated Feet Diagnosed?
Overpronation can be diagnosed by multiple health professionals including podiatrists, physiotherapists, and doctors. To diagnose overpronation, a healthcare practitioner will typically complete an observational and gait assessment (assess how you walk). While analyzing how you walk, they will look at how your foot and ankle move in coordination with your knees, hips, pelvis, and low back.
What are Common Treatments for Overpronated Feet?
The most common treatment is specific shoes that are designed to correct overpronation or orthotic inserts. Orthotics can be purchased over the counter or by prescription. They help to support your arch and control the way your foot hits the ground and moves while you walk. Other treatments with a physiotherapist include manual therapy to improve mobility at any stiff joints, taping to correct overpronation and exercises to help strengthen muscles to improve the arch position of the foot.
If you suspect that you have overpronated feet, reach out to us at HPC to see what type of treatment is best for you.
*About the HPC Student Volunteer Program*
Each year, approximately 30 University of Guelph students are selected following a competitive application process to take part in the “HPC Volunteer Program.” This program provides an opportunity for U of G student volunteers to translate their academic knowledge into practice, while gaining first-hand experience and mentorship from the team of certified physiotherapists and chiropractors at the University of Guelph’s Health and Performance Centre. As a result of this exceptional partnership between the University of Guelph and the HPC practitioners, students can gain valuable insight on evidence-based practice prior to graduating from their respective programs. Click here for more information on co-curricular experiential learning opportunities at the University of Guelph. This article was written by members of the 2021-22 HPC Student Volunteer Program.
Marcin, A. (2017, June 1). Identifying and managing overpronation. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/overpronation
Splichal, E. (2018, October 4). Overpronation. Foot.com. https://www.foot.com/footconditions/over-pronation/
Pedorthic Association of Canada. (n.d.). Overpronation & under pronation correction. https://www.pedorthic.ca/foot-health/pronation/