The best way to manage and reduce any of your bodily pains and aches is to first identify the root cause of the problem. If you have been struggling with foot pain or stiffness in your heels and other parts of your lower body, you could be a victim of overpronation. It seems like a very complicated word but it isn’t that difficult to understand.
What Is Overpronation?
Have you ever put enough thought into how your foot sits on the ground? Have you ever noticed its position when you walk or run? It just feels natural. You know that the motion is going to happen on its own. You don’t have to put any special effort into it. But remember, how you step or put your foot down on the floor matters a lot. It is important for your overall health, your posture, your joint health, your back muscles, and a lot more. Overpronation is a condition when your foot rolls inward as you move forward. Any individual who tends to overpronate will experience the outer edge of their heel hitting the ground first. This results in the foot rolling inward in an arch.
Pronation basically refers to the way your feet flatten when you put them on the ground. When you overpronate, you are overly flattening your feet. As the arch of your foot flattens, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your foot come under excessive strain. This increases your risk of developing major injuries over time. It could result in the following:
- Ankle Sprains
- Shin Splints
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Heel Spurs
- Plantar Fasciitis
Medical Diagnosis For Your Overpronation Condition
Now, the very first thing that you must be thinking about is whether it has any viable medical diagnosis or not. Yes, you can visit your physical therapist or a podiatrist to get your condition assessed. The doctor is going to assess your walking pattern/gait which helps in understanding your overpronation problem better. As you walk from one point to another, the doctor is going to record you perform this activity. Then this footage will be analyzed in slow motion. Your physician might also suggest going for a 3D foot mapping procedure for which you will be asked to step on a special mat without any shoes on. The sensors in the mat are going to determine how and what part of your foot strikes the ground first and how much as you walk or run.
Is There A Way To Tell Whether It Is Overpronation Or Not In The First Place?
Yes, it is possible to determine whether or not you are overpronating by looking into a few signs of wear and tear. But wait, these signs are going to be on your shoes. If you notice that your shoes look more rundown on the inside sole, close to the ball of the foot, there is a good possibility that you overpronate. Put your shoes on a flat surface and observe them sharply. Notice whether they tilt inward or not.
Another way to determine whether you overpronate or not is to look at your bare feet. If you have flat feet or low arches, this may be an obvious sign that you overpronate.
- A few symptoms that you will notice right off the bat include
- Flat feet when standing barefoot on the ground
- Corns or calluses
- Knee, hip, back pain that emanates from your lower body
- Hammer toes
- Pain in your heel
- Pain in the arch of your feet
Different Ways To Manage & Reduce Heel Pain Cause By Overpronation
Depending upon your condition and the level to which the problem has escalated, the physician might suggest the following treatments:
These are recommended only when the condition has worsened a lot. When you feel your heel pain persisting relentlessly, you may choose steroid injections to help you heal pain. The doctor is going to inject an anti-inflammatory steroid into the affected area. These injections cannot be taken too frequently because they have their own side effects over time.
Surgery is the last resort. If your condition has been deteriorating constantly, you may opt for a surgical procedure that can help you regain your normal life. For example, there is a process by the name of plantar fascia release which comprises cutting and removal of the fascia. This reduces the tension that has built up in the tissue over time.
Following are a few exercises you can try to prevent this problem from escalating any further:
Seated Fascia Stretch
- Begin by sitting in a cross-legged position
- place your foot over the knee of the other leg
- grab the heel with one hand and the toes with the other
- pull on the toes gently while pulling up on the heel at the same time
- bend your toes up to stretch the fascia
- bend the ankle to stretch the Achilles tendon
- hold this position for 10 seconds
- repeat the same for the other foot
Seated Ankle Pumps
- Sit in a comfortable chair
- hold your leg out
- flex and extend your ankle joint
- this movement stretches your fascia and calf muscle
- hold the stretch for 5 seconds
- repeat 10 times for each foot
Standing Calf Stretch
- Begin by taking support from a wall
- place your hands on it to balance your body
- keep your legs straight
- Place your heels down
- Let your hips fall towards the wall so that your back legs are stretched
- maintain this position for 10 seconds and repeat several times
There are various exercises for your lower body that can help you alleviate pain in your feet, soles, and heels. The key is to avoid any motion or position that makes the problem worse. There are a few other activities that you will have to avoid completely such as swimming, cycling, running marathons, and lifting weights. These are very strenuous workouts that are not recommended if you suffer from any such problem and especially overpronation. However, avoiding any form of activity altogether is also not beneficial. Consult your physician before you begin with self-diagnosis and self-taught exercises. Talk it out with them and understand what the most appropriate treatment would be for your particular situation.