Tuesday, 6 January 2015
‘Overpronation’ is usually a badly used term that is frequently thrown around in running groups and media in regards to runner’s feet and the selling of running shoes. Pronation is a natural normal motion that the foot goes through when running and walking. This is the foot rolling inwards at the ankle joint and the mid-foot ( arch ) of the foot flattening. The body needs to do this to help absorb shock. Overpronation is when there's seemingly excessive pronation. There is not any consensus amongst specialists just how much is too much and even whether it is actually a problem or not. There are lots of runners who overpronate that do not have problems. It is a common thought that overpronation increases the risk for overuse injury in runners and the evidence is that it does, however it's only a tiny risk factor and several variables go into runners getting an injury. Due to this alleged risk for overuse injury running footwear have been normally manufactured for minor, moderate and severe overpronators. The most rigid motion control running shoes are made for the most severe overpronators. Runners who have no or minimal overpronation are considered to be better off in neutral or stability rather than motion control shoes. This model for the prescription of running footwear is not based on the research and some data disagrees with it. Overpronation is only thought to be a problem if the forces related to it are enough to harm the tissues. In these cases foot orthotics usually are indicated in the short to medium term after which based on the cause of the overpronation, gait retraining and muscle rehab can be used in the medium to long term. Where issues also arise around the use of the name, there is also the problem that there is not just one cause of overpronation. There are many different causes and no one size fits all. Foot orthoses will work in some people long term. Muscle therapy and gait retraining can work in the long term in others. For this reason you should work out the cause to start with and target the intervention at this.