Understanding Pronation

Feet are amazingly complex structures, but the complexity is necessary on account of the important functions they perform. Whether supporting the body (which takes more effort than we tend to realize) or enabling movement, the lower limbs rely on various sub-structures and biomechanical processes to achieve their objectives, including using something known as pronation.

This part of your stride is a process that is performed with every step: the foot goes through a roughly fifteen percent inward roll. This biomechanical process begins with the heel strike and extends through the final push from the toes. It is used to help distribute forces across the foot equitably.

When a foot pronates normally, there are not usually any associated issues. Sure, any foot or ankle can potentially develop problems, but moderate pronating does not increase that likelihood the same way that either excessive or under pronating does.

There are two deviations of this biomechanical process – overpronation and supination. With the first, the foot rotates in excess of fifteen percent. The second, on the other hand, refers to a roll that is less than the ideal fifteen percent.

A common factor in both of them is an “abnormal” arch height. Having high or low foot arches is not particularly unusual, but both of them affect the biomechanical process. Individuals with low arches tend to overpronate, whereas those with high, rigid arches are more likely to supinate. These abnormal gait patterns can lead to issues that include increased risk for stress fractures, tibialis posterior pain, bunions, calluses, and foot, leg, hip, and lower back pain.

The good news is that we can provide treatment for these issues. Even better, the methods we use are often conservative in nature. There are cases where high or low arches can benefit from surgical procedures, but those are rare and we can usually provide relief from painful symptoms with a treatment plan that incorporates medication, stretches, icing, and orthotic devices. Whereas the first options manage symptoms, the custom orthotics we prepare here at Houston Foot Specialists can lead to improved biomechanics and correct abnormal pronation patterns.

Hopefully your foot arches are of moderate height and you have a normal gait. When you do have difficulties, we are ready to help. Call our Houston, TX podiatrist office at (713) 467-8886 or schedule an appointment through our website today.

Categories: General