Causes, Risk of Underpronation, and Treatment in Dallas, Plano & Prosper, TX; Each time your foot hits the ground or pushes off to take a step, you slightly roll your ankle inwards to absorb impact and to propel yourself forward.
Underpronation, also known as supination happens when your ankle doesn’t roll inward as much as it should when your foot hits the ground or when you’re pushing off to take a step. This causes your foot to roll outward and put pressure on your ankle and toes.
Underpronation can throw off the alignment of your entire body, causing you to shift weight from the heel to the forefoot. It can lead to severe pain, injury, and damage to the tissues in your feet if left untreated.
It can also lead to:
- Back pain
- Hip pain
- Stress on the knee
- Ankle injuries
- Plantar fasciitis
Underpronation can lead to injuries and painful conditions such as:
The plantar fascia ligament runs across the bottom of the foot and attaches the heel bone to the toes. The plantar fascia works to distribute impact while you walk or run. Underpronation puts excessive pressure and strain on the plantar fascia, causing it to become overstretched, worn, or torn.
Heel Spurs and Pain
Heel spurs develop when overuse or injury causes the plantar fascia to pull away from the heel bone. Tiny calcium deposits may begin to form in response to this situation, digging into sensitive tissue in the heel during movement which causes pain.
Sprains, Rolled Ankles, or Other Injuries from a fall
Underpronation creates a less stable gait and people who are underpronated are at greater risk for falls and other injuries that may occur when the foot rolls too far outward, destabilizes the alignment of the body during movement.
Hammertoes and Bunions
The force of push-off and landing when taking a step falls disproportionately to the outer toes can lead to bunions and hammertoes.
Causes of Underpronation
An inherited problem with the structure of the foot is usually the cause of underpronation. Most people with parents or grandparents with underpronation are at higher risk of being underpronated.
Weakness in certain muscles of the foot, ankle, and leg can also cause underpronation.
Wearing improper shoes
Wearing improper shoes, rigid, and tight shoes can cause foot problems leading to underpronation. Wearing shoes that are worn out or without arches can cause underpronation.
Misalignment of the body can cause some parts of the body to work harder to support posture and maintain balance. Misalignment can cause some muscles and bones to overwork, leading to underpronation.
Pro injuries to the foot
Pro injuries can cause instability, damaged tendons, and muscles. People with injuries or conditions such as Achilles tendonitis are at risk of underpronation.
Risk factors of Underpronation
Factors that increase the risk of underpronation include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Constant leg impact on hard surfaces
- Restricted range of motion
- Standing for prolonged periods of time
- Stiffness of bones and joints due to aging or arthritis
- Excess exercise
Diagnosis of Underpronation
The following can be used to diagnose for underpronation:
Examining old shoes
In individuals with a neutral gait, the soles of their shoes will wear down from the outer edge of the heel towards the center. In people with underpronation, the soles of their shoes wear out only on the outside edge.
Walk on a concrete tile floor with your wet and barefoot, particularly when coming out from the bathroom. Examine your footprint, if half of your arch is visible, it suggests that you have a normal gait but if only a fraction of your arch is visible, it suggests that you have underpronation.
If you are not satisfied with your personal diagnosis, you can meet a podiatrist or physical therapist to carry out a gait analysis. Gait analysis involves a person walking or running on a specialized platform.
Gait analysis is the systematic study of human motion whereby specialized instruments are used to measure body movements, body mechanics, and the activity of the muscles.
Treatment and prevention of Underpronation
Treatment options for underpronation include:
Wearing good footwear
Flexible and lightweight running shoes are best for people who are underpronated. If you are underpronated, consult with a podiatrist to recommend the best type of shoe for you. Always wear the same style of socks that will be worn with the new shoes. Look for shoes with extra-cushioning, arch support, and a roomy toe-box. Do not wear tight-fitting shoes. Wear shoes that are very comfortable. Replace your shoes whenever they show signs of wear and tear on the soles to avoid imbalance.
Use orthotics that can support the arch and heel to control the motion of the foot. Use custom orthotics designed specifically for underpronation.
Follow good and proper walking and running techniques. Always land softly on your feet when running or walking. Aim to make contact with the ground close to the mid-foot, rather than at the heel. Land on the ground with a flat foot and avoid curving the toes.
A physical therapist can assist you to loosen tight muscles and tendons, and as well strengthen soft tissues to assists in better weight distribution throughout your body.
Certain types of strengthening and flexibility exercises can help to keep the muscles flexible and strong, resulting in a neutral gait.
Exercises for underpronation include:
To do this exercise, place your hands on the wall. Move one leg back, a few feet behind the other while keeping both feet firmly on the ground. Keep your back leg straight and bend forward at the front knee. Your calf muscle and ankle of the back leg should be stretched. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Reverse the leg and repeat three times on each leg.
Plantar fascia stretch
To do this exercise, sit down in a chair. Cross your left ankle above the knee of your right leg. Hold your toes with the left hand and gently stretch your toes toward the front of your ankle. Place your right hand on the plantar fascia; you will feel it like a tight band. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat it for up to 20 times for each foot.
To do this exercise, stand on your feet and cross your right leg behind the left leg. While keeping your hips level, bend over to the left side. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise three times on each leg.
Do high arches cause Underpronation?
An underpronated foot may have an abnormally high arch. People with high arches are at higher risk of underpronation.
What shoes are best for Underpronation?
Some of the best soft running shoes for underpronation include:
- Asics Gel-Nimbus 22
- Adidas SolarGlide 3
- Brooks Glycerin 18
- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20
- Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit
- Reebok Floatride Energy 2
- Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37
- Saucony Ride 13
- Mizuno Wave Rider 2
How do you know if you have Underpronation?
- Examine your old shoes to know if the soles of your shoes wear out only on the outside edge.
- Check your footprints to examine your arch. If only a fraction of your arch is visible, it means you have underpronation.
- You may also know that you have underpronation if your calf and Achilles are extremely tight.
- If you have stabbing plantar fasciitis pain, it may be a sign that you have underpronation.
Is Underpronation the same as supination?
Yes, supination is another name for underpronation.