In order to walk or run we need to pronate. Pronation (sometimes as referred to “Rolling In” of the arch) is a normal function. Pronation is something like a shock absorber in a car. When the foot pronates, it absorbs the weight of our body like a spring. It is thought that over pronation leads to many painful conditions musculo-skeletally. Many times if the over pronation is limited, the painful condition subsides and development of arthritis, bunion, bone spurs, etc. is diminished.
However, recent research has some questions about this. First, they cannot define “Over Pronation”. Second, controlling “over pronation” has not been shown (proof positive) to reduce injury in runners. Keywords are injury and runners. (as well as just because something is not proven by man, does not mean it does not exist and thus should not be ignored). Many of these studies are simply determining injury, not other maladies that come about with abnormal alignment. Further, runner mechanics cannot be compared to average standing/walking and even running of the average Joe or Mary, who are not elite athletes. Finally, many of these studies are not comparing apples to apples. This is not only true within the subjects studied but also within the devices used in which they compare them to all devices.
If you are “over pronating” or “rolling in” excessively, your body alignment may be off. This will most likely cause problems from the feet to the back.
How to Treat Over Pronation
To start, you can begin with a shoe that will “Support” your foot better. This via a rigid heel counter (upper material around the heel bone) and a rigid shank (the sole of the shoe should bend at the ball of the foot only). The shoe should not be flimsy in the middle of the sole. You have heard of steel shank boots, well it is the same concept. Also, be sure there is some cupping of the heel and has some arch support. Lastly, the fit is very important. The ball of the foot by the big toe should be at the widest part of the shoe where it will bend when propelling your body forward.
A pre-made insert arch support can sometimes help. What type? Well,it is best to get a professional to help as there are many different types for all the different types of feet. There is not one insert for every foot.
A custom molded foot orthotic may be best. Why? A custom orthotic is made exactly to your feet aligning. All of your arches and overall your foot to your leg and all the way up.
Muscle strengthening may help as well. However, this needs to be done consistently to be beneficial.