Overpronation and Flat Feet Conditions

The term pronation refers to the natural movement of your foot that happens as your foot hits the ground while walking or running. Overpronation means your foot is rolling inward as you walk. Some people refer to this as flat feet. While flat feet and overpronation can occur together, they are separate conditions. A flat foot refers to someone who has no arch on the inside of their foot, so their entire sole touches the ground when standing. Someone with flat feet may not necessarily overpronate. 

If you suffer from one of these issues, you may need to see a Chicago podiatrist who can help with your overpronation and flat foot conditions. Dr. Schoene is a leading podiatrist in Lake County and Chicago with over 30 years of experience. If you are struggling with overpronation or other flat foot conditions, contact our office to schedule an appointment. 

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What is Overpronation?

Overpronation disrupts the normal alignment of your body, which puts you at risk of developing other injuries. It also causes an increased impact when your foot hits the ground while walking. Someone who is an athlete, especially a runner, is more likely to develop overuse injuries. 

Examples of some injuries that we commonly see in people with overpronation include, but are not limited to: 

  • Heel pain 
  • Shin splints
  • Chronic lower back pain 
  • Bunions
  • Achilles Tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Stress fractures in the lower leg or foot 
  • Iliotibial syndrome, which is the inflammation of a ligament on the outside of your knee 

Some people are born with flat feet that lead to problems like overpronation. Others develop separate issues that cause their arches to weaken or they develop flat feet, ultimately leading to overpronation. Examples of conditions that can cause overpronation as an adult include being overweight, getting pregnant, or any activity that involves repeatedly striking your foot on a rigid surface. 

Treatment Options for Overpronation 

Depending on the severity of the overpronation, treatment options will vary. To start, you may be prescribed exercises that will strengthen your arches and the muscles surrounding them. You should always speak with an experienced Chicago podiatrist before starting any exercises. Possible exercises a physical therapist might prescribe include: 

  • Seated calf stretch: Your Achilles tendon can be stressed by tight calf muscles. Here, you will sit with legs extended out in front of you. Flex your feet. Then, you will bend forward at the waist and try to reach for your toes. 
  • First position demi plié: You will turn out from the hips so your feet face outward and your heels are together. Then, bend your knees while keeping your heels on the ground. 
  • Rolling your feet: Stand with your feet so they are hip-width apart. Then roll your weight so it's on the outside of the feet, and then roll it back to normal. 

Other options include purchasing better support shoes and wearing orthotics. Someone with overpronation needs shoes that provide extra stability and support as they will minimize the impact your foot makes with each step. Look for shoes that have additional arch support. A specialty running store might be able to provide some recommendations. Otherwise, you should speak with a Chicago podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon. 

What are Flat Feet?

Flat feet typically shows up when someone is a child, and it usually gets worse with age. Heredity, lack of foot exercise, and tight Achilles tendon are a few of the causes of flat feet in a child. An adult might develop flat feet through an injury, continued stressors on the foot and its arch, a tight Achilles tendon, and more. Some of the most common causes of developing a flat foot as an adult include: 

  • Arthritis
  • Overuse and strain
  • Injured tendon
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Fracture or other injuries
  • Obesity 
  • Age

The most common symptom of flat feet is a decrease of the arch in your foot, especially when putting weight on it. You may also feel some fatigue or pain along the inner side of your foot and arch. 

Potential Issues Caused by Flat Feet 

In some cases, flat feet do not cause any issues or require any treatment. Other times, problems can develop that require you to seek medical assistance. Examples of health issues that flat feet can cause include: 

  • Rolled-in ankles
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Shin splints
  • Knee, hip, and lower back pain 
  • Fatigue in the foot, arch, and leg 
  • Soft tissue inflammation 
  • Hammertoe or bunions 
  • Heel, foot, and ankle pain 
  • Arthritis 
  • Posterior tibial tendon dysfunction (PTTD)

If you are experiencing pain or notice abnormalities, contact Dr. Schoene today to schedule an appointment and learn what your treatment options are. 

Treatment Options for Flat Feet 

Treatment options will vary based on whether the affected person is a child or an adult. A child's feet are still flexible and can be treated with exercise, custom-made insoles, the proper footwear, or braces. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended as it may prevent complications in the future. 

In adults, non-surgical treatment options may include: 

  • Exercise and weight loss 
  • Corrective and supportive footwear
  • Supports and braces
  • Modification of daily activities 
  • Physical therapy 

If your condition doesn't respond to non-surgical treatment options, then your doctor may discuss surgery. Surgical intervention is the last resort. Conservative treatment options are always the first line of defense. When you meet with Dr. Schoene, she will always try conservative treatments before ever recommending surgery. 

Preventing Overpronation and Flat Feet Conditions 

Not everyone can prevent developing overpronation or other flat feet conditions. Others may be able to prevent it by losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Others can reduce its effects by using proper footwear and orthotics. If you are experiencing pain from overpronation or flat feet, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. 

At Gurnee Podiatry and Sports Medicine Associates, Dr. Shoene can help. From a humble start, she's grown her practice into a holistic center with podiatric associates, massage therapists, physical therapists, a chiropractor, podiatric medical students, and more. If you are interested in treatment options for your condition or need to get fitted for orthotics, we can assist you. Contact Dr. Shoene today to learn more about how she can help.