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Should runners be worried about overpronation?

The way in which the foot functions or works could have a substantial impact on the rest of the body. The feet are generally considered as the foundation of the body and just like the tall building comparison, if that foundation is not correct, then something can go wrong above. There are numerous types of alignment conditions that can affect that foundation and how the foot interacts with the ground. That connection will have different affects further up the body.

Among the problems that may go wrong is something that is commonly given the name “overpronation”. This term can often be used and misused, so should probably not be used. The term relates to the feet moving inwards at the rearfoot and the mid-foot (arch) of the foot collapsing. This is actually quite a normal motion and is only a concern if there to too much of it. Why the phrase is such a problem is that there is no agreement about what is too much and what is actually normal. This can lead to lots of indecision in research as well as in clinical practice, especially when decisions have to be made if the overpronation needs to be addressed or not.

The outcomes that this problem may have on the body are believed to vary from hallux valgus and heel spurs in the foot to leg and knee joint conditions in runners. There are many methods to treat it, again with a lot of disagreement between medical experts regarding the best way to manage it. Rationally dealing with the overpronation ought to be directed at 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 of those muscles would be the logical therapy. If the problem is the control of muscles at the hip, then the therapy should be directed at that. If the problem is caused by weak foot muscles, then that's the best place to start the rehabilitation with exercises. When the problem is due to a bony alignment issue in the foot, then foot orthotics are often used.