Understanding How to Treat Overpronation and Underpronation

Over pronation and under pronation can both cause foot pain.

Normal pronation allows the natural part of your foot to function properly when you walk or are active. It involves the arch rolling inward to absorb any impact when your feet hit the ground and push off. 

Issues with pronation can affect your performance during sports or daily activities and can cause pain in the feet or ankles. Overpronation and underpronation can both be easily treated in order to maintain proper foot function.

Overpronation and Underpronation 

Overpronation and underpronation can cause problems for those who are active or constantly on their feet. The difference between the two is:

  • Overpronation. With overpronation, the arch of the foot is rotated inward too much then collapses as you roll through with your step. Weight is more on the inside of your foot and big and second toes. It is common in those with flat feet and can cause strains in your ankle, arch, and lower leg. It can also cause knee pain and shin splints.
  • Underpronation. With underpronation or supination, extra stress is placed on the foot since the arch of the foot rolls to the outside of your foot and does not roll inward. Weight is placed on the outside of your foot and smaller toes. Underpronation is common for those with high arches and can cause issues such as sprained ankles, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendonitis. 

Treatment Options

Treatment for overpronation can help relieve pain and prevent future injuries to the feet and ankles. Treatment options for overpronation include:

  • Motion-control shoes. These shoes are designed to help with overpronation by correcting the wearer’s gait. They have stiffer construction and increased middle support. Motion-control shoes can help guide the foot into proper pronation.
  • Custom orthotics. Custom orthotics can be designed for the individual and worn inside the shoe to help correct overpronation.
  • Running barefoot. Running barefoot can cause the person to pronate less than when wearing shoes.

Those who suffer from underpronation can wear neutral running shoes and do not need motion control shoes. Treatment options for underpronation include:

  • Custom orthotics. Orthotics designed with extra cushioning and arch support are ideal for those with underpronation. 
  • Physical therapy. Exercises and stretches that strengthen the leg and feet muscles and stretch the Achilles tendon can be helpful for those who under pronate. 

If you are having problems with either overpronation or underpronation, consult with a podiatrist. You will be evaluated to determine what type of pronation issues you are experiencing and what treatment will best meet your individual needs. 

When to See a Podiatrist

If you have questions about pronation or are experiencing foot or ankle pain, Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry can help. We offer a free initial consultation and can create a customized plan to address your concerns. To set up an appointment, fill out our contact form or call us at (301) 515-FEET.

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