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What is Pronation?

What is Pronation?

Written by:  Michelle Millner, PT, DPT, OCS

 

People often assume that pronation means you have flat feet. It’s true that most people with flat feet are also overpronators.  But individuals with normal feet can also be overpronators.

So what is pronation?  Pronation is actually a motion.  The foot is made up of a number of small joints, whose primary function is to absorb shock and provide stability over level and uneven surfaces so that we can stay upright.  Pronation is the combination of plantar flexion (foot pointing downward), eversion (the heel curving outward) and abduction (the foot moving outward).  It is a naturally occurring motion and should occur within normal limits to absorb shock and to give us a base for pushing off the foot during walking and running. This process can be observed as one takes a step.  The arch of the foot drops towards the floor as weight is brought over the foot.

We need pronation.  Problems can arise with too little pronation because there isn’t enough shock absorption through the foot.  Too much pronation can lead to it’s own set of problems also.  Shock is not getting absorbed properly either.  The problem with shock absorption is that it can lead to issues like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonopathy, and even knee problems.

A physiotherapist can assess your alignment and provide valuable exercises to address factors that might be contributing to over- or under- pronation.  If you have any question or concerns about your feet consider visiting a physiotherapist.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices are located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

Image courtesy of tiverylucky / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

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