What is pronation?
In essence pronation is a movement or position of the foot (refer to below image). When the main joints in the back and middle of the foot “roll in” upon weight bearing this is referred to as pronation.
Pronation is a normal function of the foot and occurs to absorb the impact of weight bearing similar to the suspension of a car.
Is pronation bad?
Every person is different and the amount each person does pronate will differ. A mild amount of pronation during standing and moving is normal and required, but in this case too much of a good thing can be detrimental and this is called hyper-pronation. Hyper-pronation is more common in people who are very flexible, overweight people and can be made worse by factors such as poor footwear choice or muscle weakness. It is important to note that when the foot pronates it has an immediate impact on the relationship of the whole leg and the leg bones will rotate internally which changes the pressures in the joints.
Hyper-pronation can create abnormal pressures in the body which eventually lead to tissue stress. If it is occurring propulsion may be poor and it may cause people to be unbalanced, weak and have poor propulsion. It is well documented that hyper-pronation is associated with much higher risk of many lower limb/foot/ankle injuries and if diagnosed by the practitioner appropriate footwear, muscle strengthening exercises and maybe orthotic therapy will be recommended.
Is my flat foot bad?
A term we rarely use at the Foot and Ankle Clinic is “flat foot” as the term can be misleading and flat feet don’t necessarily need fixing! There can be many reasons for a flat foot; for example, most children have quite flat feet until around 6 years old, and this is not a problem! This is different to the adult acquired flat foot in which the foot is undergoing degenerative processes due to hyper-pronation and becoming flatter to the ground, which is a bigger problem.
A person may have a foot which the normal posture is on the more pronated side but if the foot is strong and functioning well this isn’t necessarily a problem!
At the Foot and Ankle Clinic our highly qualified team of Podiatrists are all members of the Australian Podiatry Association and offer a combined 50 years’ experience. They are trained to diagnose and effectively treat pronation via a range of treatments.
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