Over Pronation (Flat Feet)
What is over Pronation?
Over-pronation, or flat feet, is a common biomechanical problem that occurs when a person's arch collapses too far upon weight bearing, and is said to be "over-pronated". Pronation is the natural motion of the foot as it roles inward and flattens out when the foot makes contact with the ground. Pronation is part of the body's natural complex shock absorption and allows the foot to adapt to the contour of the ground. Too much pronation will cause the arch of the foot to flatten excessively placing stress and pressure on the tissues and ligaments of the foot. This motion can cause extreme stress or inflammation on the plantar fascia, potentially causing severe discomfort, leading to other foot problems including plantar fasciitis, ankle pain, shin pain, knee pain, bunions, mortons neuroma, and lower back pain.
There are two types of Flat Feet:
Rigid Flat Feet: The rigid flat foot is one that is flat whether sitting or standing. Because this type of foot is flat all the time, it generally does not go through an excessive range of motion and often suffers much less problems than the flexible flat foot.
Flexible Flat feet: The flexible flat foot is one that has a good arch when sitting but that flattens out significantly when standing.
Over-pronation is very prominent in people who have flexible, flat feet. The framework of the foot begins to collapse, causing the foot to flatten and adding stress to other parts of the foot. As a result, over-pronation, often leads to Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spurs, Metatarsalgia, Posterior Tibial Tendinosis or Bunions.
There are many causes of flat feet. Obesity, pregnancy, genetic predisposition or repetitive pounding on a hard surface can weaken the arch leading to over-pronation. Often people with flat feet do not experience discomfort immediately, and some never suffer from any discomfort at all. However, when symptoms develop and become painful, walking becomes awkward and causes increased strain on the feet and calves.
Treatment and Prevention
Over Pronation can be treated conservatively (non-surgical treatments) with orthotics. Orthotics provide the required arch support to effectively reduce excessive pronation and restore the foot and its posture to the right biomechanical position. Orthotics should be designed with appropriate arch support and medial rear foot posting to prevent the over-pronation.
Footwear should also be examined to ensure there is a proper fit. Footwear with a firm heel counter is often recommended for extra adequate control, support and stability. Improperly fitting footwear can lead to additional foot problems.
Paediatric Flat Feet
Pregnancy and feet