The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

All About Overpronation

Posted by on Thursday, June 14th, 2012


Have you ever been at a party or event where almost everyone works at the same company or industry except for you? You may find yourself listening to conversations like this:

Jack: Well, it’s not actually as high a quantity as it appears because a lot of those are dummy stims for CR items.

Jill: Oh, right, well, then you should just be able to get it quickly through the TDS in time for PPMR.

Sam: Say, any of you seen one of those new percosimolets?

Jill: I like the basic idea, but I don’t think they’re as smooth as the mervs.

All you can do is stand there and smile and nod gamely as you wonder what the heck all of that just meant and whether it’s something you should know. It’s like being caught between two technogeeks who are busily dissecting the finer points of rooting their phones.

Sometimes running or podiatry blogs and websites can be a little like that, throwing around terms that the hardcore enthusiasts assume everyone knows but which don’t mean a lot to your average person. Our example today is the word overpronation. It’s used all the time when talking about running shoes and injuries, maybe with a cursory explanation. However, do you really know what it means and why it should matter to you? I say it’s time to take a closer look at overpronation!

What is overpronation: First, let’s look at the root of this word. Pronation describes the normal way your foot rolls inward while in motion or standing. It helps the foot absorb shock.

Pronation can be broken down into three parts:

  • Eversion, or the sole of the foot turning outward;
  • Dorsiflexion, or the toes pointing upward;
  • Abduction, or the toes pointing to the outward side.

However, some people roll their foot inward excessively, especially when running. This, my friends, is the famous overpronation.

Why should I care? If you overpronate, you put an unusual amount of stress not only on your foot, but all the muscles that attach to your foot and run up your leg. The result is a potential number of injuries, for example:

How can I tell if I overpronate? There are several ways to tell if you overpronate:

  • The easiest way to identify overpronation is simply to look at your shoes. If the inside edge of the soles of your shoes look noticeably more worn than the outer edge, you over pronate. You may ask, “How much does it need to be worn for me to know it’s overpronation?” Well, again, it’s simple–if there’s a difference that you can notice, you are overpronating. If it’s no big deal, you won’t see it, and thus voila! No worries.
  • You an also use a wet foot test. Put down a length of paper or cardboard, making sure it’s long enough that you have room to take a few steps. Wet your feet then walk across the paper/cardboard. A normal footprint shows the forefoot and heel connected by a small length of foot in between, with an empty space on the inside to show the arch. The footprint of a person who overpronates has more of the arch filled in as the foot rolls in and makes a mark on the paper.
  • Finally, most running stores or good sports stores will do a gait analysis to help you identify problems with your running style that may be causing you injuries. A podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) can also help detect whether you are overpronating or having any other kind of issue.

What can I do to cut down on injuries if I overpronate? Many of the major running shoe companies have shoes that they say are specifically made to lessen overpronation. Podiatrists at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) can also prescribe orthotics that will help correct overpronation or recommend changes you can make in your gait to remedy the problem. A running coach can also help. There are even strength training exercises you can do to help reduce overpronation.

There! Now you know everything you need to know about overpronation. Next time you hear people use that word, feel free to chime in rather than just smile and nod.

If you think you need help with overpronation or have any other foot issue, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet.




If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.