One of the most common causes of foot and leg discomfort is a condition known as excessive pronation. Normal pronation of the foot is necessary as the foot adapts to the ground. However, with excessive pronation, the arch may flatten, the knees roll inward, and the tissues stretch. This causes joint surfaces to function at different angles to each other. When this happens, joints that should be stable now become loose, flexible and unstable. Initially, excess pronation may cause fatigue. As the problem gets worse, strain on muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the inside edge of the foot and lower leg can cause permanent problems and deformities.
Common signs of excess pronation include:
- When standing, your heels lean outward.
- When standing, one or both of your kneecaps turn inward.
- The bottom of your feet aches in the arch, the heel or your develop bunions.
- You develop knee pain when you are active or involved in athletics.
- You tend to wear out the inside edges of the soles of your shoes very quickly.
- Children usually are inactive in school sports because of fatigue in their feet.
What can be done? The goal is to bring the joints of the foot back into a normal functioning position, and to prevent increasing rubbing and instability in the bones of the arch.
The most successful treatment for pronation is the use of prescription orthotics. Orthotics are custom made shoe insteps made to correct your excess pronation. Foot orthotics are made from various high-impact plastics which are made to fit comfortably in your shoes. As you wear them, they gently guide or hold your feet in the proper position for comfortable standing or walking. The use of orthotics helps eliminate the painful symptoms of pronation.
Your feet are the base for your entire body. If you ignore problems in your feet, they will get worse and affect the rest of your body. Proper treatment for excess pronation will improve the function of your entire musculoskeletal system. Proper use of prescription orthotics in children can improve walking, lessen pain and improve sports participation.