Why is overpronation important for runners to understand?
The way that the foot functions or works will have a considerable impact on the rest of the body. The feet are generally regarded as the foundation of the body and just like the tall building comparison, if that foundation is not correct, then something could go wrong higher up. There are numerous types of alignment problems that can impact that foundation and how the foot interacts with the ground. That interaction will have numerous affects further up the body.
One of the issues that can go wrong is something that is widely called “overpronation”. This word is often used and abused, so should probably be avoided. The term refers to the feet moving inwards at the ankle joint as well as the arch of the foot flattening. This really is quite a normal movement and is only a issue if there to too much of it. The reason why the word is such an issue is that there is no agreement as to what is too much and what is normal. This can lead to lots of indecision in research as well as in clinical practice, especially when decisions have to be made if the overpronation should be treated or not.
The impact that overpronation may have on the body are believed to vary from hallux valgus and heel spurs in the foot to leg and knee joint problems in runners. There are several ways to treat it, again with a lot of difference of opinion between health professionals regarding the best way to deal with it. Rationally dealing with the overpronation ought to be directed at the cause and there is no such thing as a one size fits all. When the problem is due to tight calf muscles, then stretches of those muscles would be the rational method. If the issue is the control of muscles at the hip, then the therapy really should be geared towards that. If the condition is caused by weak foot muscles, then that's the best place to begin the rehab with exercises. When the concern is because of a bony alignment trouble in the foot, then foot supports will often be prescribed.