Pronation Problems

As with any field or specialty, podiatry has its own unique lexicon, and one of our goals is to help you understand and become familiar with terms like “pronation,” “gait,” and “biomechanical process.”

Two people walking down a coblestone courtThose particular terms relate to one another and have a rather strong connection. Pronation is an essential biomechanical process that takes place during your gait cycle, but let’s break this down and make it all a bit clearer for you!

To put it simply, a biomechanical process is when a living being (“bio”) moves (“mechanical”). Biomechanics are used in physical acts like jumping, swinging a baseball bat, kicking a soccer ball, throwing a football, and even simply walking. Your feet play essential roles for you, and they rely on biomechanical processes for different reasons, including absorbing the tremendous amounts of pressure and force they have to endure during the course of an average day (and even more when you perform high-impact activities).

When you walk (which is also known as your gait), your feet use an important process called pronation. As your foot pronates, it rotates inward roughly fifteen percent during the step. This takes place from the time the heel strikes as the foot comes down and then continues until the toes push off the ground. In part, this particular motion allows your foot to distribute all the physical force and stress—from walking and running—in an equitable manner.

This inward rotation not only helps the foot to absorb shock, but it also achieves optimal movement. When the foot strikes the ground, your arch flattens. You can think of this as being like a spring compressing and waiting for release. As your foot continues its roll, the arch decompresses and releases all of the built-up energy.

Now, the process is needed for distributing forces across the foot and assisting in forward movement, but there can be pronation problems. Feet that rotate either excessively (overpronation) or not enough (supination) can develop symptoms that may need to be addressed.

Overpronation results in excessive force being placed on the inner edge of the foot. Conversely, supination causes too much pressure on the outer edge. Often, overpronation is related to a flatfoot condition, whereas supination comes from high, rigid arches (cavus foot).

These issues can often be resolved with nonsurgical treatment, so come in and see us if you are experiencing pain from pronation issues! Contact our Bloomington, IN office by calling (812) 333-4422 or contact us online today.