In neutral pronation, our feet are rotated slightly inward when we walk or run, meaning the outside edge of our foot hits the ground first. As our bodyweight moves forward, the foot rotates downward and outward so the whole foot is in contact with the ground. Overpronation is when your foot rotates inward too much, and the arch of the foot flattens. Overtime, this can lead to flat feet and also result in issues such as knee and hip pain, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis. Take a look at the best stretches and exercises for overpronated feet.
Overpronation refers to an excessive inward or downward rolling motion of the foot during walking or running. It’s commonly a result of flat feet and while it’s normal for the foot to pronate to some extent, overpronation can lead to various issues, including shin splints, hip pain, and foot and ankle problems.
8 Signs You Have Overpronated Feet
- Flat feet – the arches of the feet appear to be low or collapsed.
- Wear on shoes – overpronators typically have excessive wear on the inner edge of the heel and the inner edge of the forefoot.
- Foot pain, including pain in the arches, heels, and ankles. This pain may be exacerbated during physical activity or prolonged periods of standing.
- Ankle instability – the ankle rolls inward, leading to ankle sprains or instability.
- Shin splints, characterized by pain along the front of the lower leg.
- Knee pain – the excessive inward rolling motion of the foot can affect the alignment of the knee, potentially leading to knee pain, such as patellofemoral pain syndrome or iliotibial band syndrome.
- Hip or lower back pain – overpronation can impact the alignment of the entire lower body, potentially causing pain in the hips or lower back.
- Tired or aching feet – overpronation can put additional strain on the muscles and ligaments in the feet, leading to fatigue or aching in the feet after walking or standing for extended periods.
What Causes Overpronated Feet?
- Genetics: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to having flat feet or excessive pronation. If your parents or other family members have overpronated feet, you may be more likely to develop it as well.
- Weak Foot Muscles: Weakness or imbalances in the muscles of the feet and lower legs can contribute to overpronation. When these muscles aren’t adequately strong or coordinated, they may be unable to provide sufficient support to the arches of the feet, leading to excessive inward rolling.
- Improper Footwear: Wearing shoes that do not provide adequate arch support or stability can exacerbate overpronation. Shoes that are too flexible or lack proper support can contribute to excessive inward rolling of the foot.
- Injury or Overuse: Previous foot or ankle injuries, repetitive stress on the feet, or overuse activities without proper rest and recovery can weaken the supporting structures of the feet and increase the likelihood of overpronation.
- Excess Body Weight: Carrying excess body weight places additional stress on the feet and can contribute to overpronation.
What Are the Risks of Having Overpronated Feet?
Overpronation can vary in severity, and some individuals may experience no symptoms or problems despite having overpronated feet. However, overpronated feet can lead to issues like plantar fasciitis, bunions, achilles tendonitis, corns, calluses, shin splints, fractures in the first and second toes, knee pain, hip pain, and low back pain.
In cases where overpronation leads to discomfort, pain, or an increased risk of injury, it’s recommended to seek professional evaluation and treatment from a healthcare provider or podiatrist. They can help identify the underlying causes and provide advice and solutions to address the issue.
7 Best Stretches and Exercises for Overpronated Feet
1. Calf Heel Raise
Stand on a step, holding onto the handrail for balance, if needed. Slowly raise up onto your toes and control the movement back down, just below the level of the step. This strengthens the calf muscle and ankle joint, and at the bottom of the movement, puts a stretch through the calf as well.
2. Towel Scrunch
This exercise helps to strengthen the foot. With bare feet, sit down in a chair and spread out a towel on the floor in front of you. Pull the towel towards your body using your toes. Repeat 10 times.
3. Glute Bridge
Lie on your back with your knees hip-width apart and your feet flat on the floor. Place a resistance band around your legs just above your knees (this is optional). Lift your hips and squeeze your glutes off the floor. Pause and slowly lower your hips back to starting position. Make sure your abs are engaged throughout the entire movement. This strengthens your glutes, helping to reverse the effects of overpronation.
4. Outward Turn Calf Heel Raise
Stand with your feet hip-width apart with your toes turned in toward each other. Lift your heels up and place your weight through your toes. Hold this position, then return to the floor, repeating for 30 to 60 seconds. This exercise is good for balance and calf strengthening.
Lie on your right side with your feet and hips stacked, your knees bent 90 degrees, and your head resting on your right arm. Draw your knees in toward your body until your feet are in line with your butt and place your left hand on the ground in front of you to maintain balance.
Keeping your abs engaged and your feet together, raise your left knee as high as you can without rotating your hip. Hold for one second, squeezing your glutes before slowly lowering your left knee to starting position. Do 20 reps then repeat on the other side. Clamshells strengthen the side and compensate for overpronation.
6. Jump Squat
Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes turned outwards. Keep your spine straight, send your hips back, and bend your knees until your glutes are lower than your knees. From the squatting position, jump up and land as softly as possible. Repeat 10 times. This helps strengthen the calf muscles.
7. Single Leg Deadlift
Stand on your left leg with your knee slightly bent. You can hold a dumbbell in each hand, or do it without weights. Start bending at the hips and extend your right leg behind you. Lower your torso, shifting your weight into your left leg, until you’re parallel to the floor.
Your arms should be hanging straight down. Maintain a slight bend in your standing leg. Slowly bring in your extended leg, and return to starting position. Switch to the other side and repeat 10 times. This strengthens and tones the glutes, and improves gait and balance.
If you have overpronated feet, try these stretches and exercises to help!
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