Why is overpronation important for runners to understand?

The way that the foot functions or works will have a substantial impact on the rest of the body. The feet are commonly considered as the foundation of the body and just like the tall building comparison, if that platform isn't correct, then something can go wrong above. There are many different kinds of dysfunctional conditions that will affect that platform and how the feet interact with the ground. That interaction will have different affects further up the body.

Among the issues that may go wrong is something that is commonly given the name “overpronation”. This phrase is frequently used and abused, so should probably be avoided. The term refers to the foot rolling inwards at the ankle joint as well as the mid-foot (arch) of the foot flattening. This really is quite a normal movement and is only a problem if there to too much of it. The reason why the term is such a problem is that there is no understanding as to what is too much and what is actually normal. This leads to plenty of indecision in research as well as in clinical practice, especially when decisions have to be made if the overpronation should be addressed or not.

The outcomes that this problem may have on the body could vary from hallux valgus and heel spurs in the foot to lower leg and knee joint problems in athletes. There are various methods to treat overpronation, again with a lot of difference of opinion among health professionals as to the best way to treat it. Rationally dealing with the overpronation should really be geared towards the cause and there isn't any such thing as a one size fits all. When the condition is caused by tight calf muscles, then stretching out of those tight muscles would be the rational approach. If the issue is the control of muscles at the hip, then the treatment really should be aimed at that. If the condition is due to weak foot muscles, then that's the best place to begin the therapy with exercises. If the problem is because of a bony alignment issue in the foot, then foot orthotics are often used.