When you run, you put between four and seven times your body weight of pressure on your feet, knees, hips, and back. If you have an imbalanced running gait, either over- or under-pronating, that pressure can lead to damage to your feet and ankles. This foot pain while running can lead to compensation elsewhere in your body, leading to pain and misalignment elsewhere.
Your running gait is the way your foot moves as it hits the ground with each stride. Regardless of whether you have a heel, midfoot or toe strike, your ankle and foot will roll in slightly as the impact of your stride is absorbed and your foot accommodates unevenness in the ground. This is called pronation.
What is overpronation?
Overpronation occurs when your foot and ankle roll inward too much, which puts excess pressure on your body with each step. If your foot doesn’t pronate enough, which is called supination, your foot doesn’t roll in enough, which is also potentially damaging to your body.
What causes overpronation?
Your body’s biomechanics, particularly in the ankles and feet, are key factors in whether you overpronate, supinate, or have a neutral running gait. For example, if your ankle doesn’t move correctly and isn’t flexible enough to bend backward, it causes your knee to move forward and shifts your center of gravity. When this happens, your foot is also forced to overpronate.
How can I tell if I overpronate?
One of the first signs of overpronation is foot pain. You’ll also experience tightness in your calves and Achille’s tendon, knee pain, and possibly pain in your hips and back. You will need an assessment to determine if overpronation is the root cause of your pain.
This is where most people go wrong, instead of making an appointment with their trusted podiatrist, they go to a runner’s store or a coach who performs a cursory ‘gait analysis’ by watching them run and walk. The runner is then ‘prescribed’ some over-the-counter orthotics or expensive stability running shoes. This may correct their gait, but it doesn’t address the biomechanical malfunction and often leads to issues elsewhere in the body.
Your New Hampshire podiatrist performs a more thorough examination to determine if you overpronate and what is causing the incorrect movements. While this includes watching you walk and run, you will also be guided through a series of other movements to diagnose the biomechanical issue causing the overpronation.
For example, you may be asked to stand with your feet facing forward, hip-width apart and then to squat until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or lower, without raising your heels from the floor. If you are unable to do this, your ankles aren’t flexible enough to allow correct pronation.
Why does overpronation cause foot pain?
Overpronation means that your foot doesn’t absorb the shock of running correctly, which means that it travels through your ankles, knees, hips, and back. Your body has to compensate for the misalignment and weakness in your feet and ankles. Not only do your feet hurt from the repeated impact of your running stride, but radiant pain develops throughout your body because of your incorrect form.
What foot conditions does overpronation cause?
Overpronation contributes to the development of conditions like:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Piriformis syndrome
- Achilles tendonitis
- IT band syndrome
- Meniscus tears
- Hip and back pain
Can I do anything to correct overpronation?
Dr. Nagy offers a variety of treatments to address overpronation and related pain. He will suggest exercises and stretches to strengthen your feet and ankles and relieve tightness in your calves and Achilles’ tendon.
You may be advised to use a foam roller on your calves and to ice your feet, particularly your arches if you suffer from plantar fasciitis. Dr. Nagy may fit you with custom orthotics to help correct your gait and support correct movement in your ankles and feet. He may also suggest HyProCure®.
What is HyProCure?
HyProCure® is an innovative, minimally invasive surgical treatment that corrects the alignment and function of your ankles by placing a small titanium stent between your ankle bone and heel bone. This procedure helps you to maintain correct form in your ankle while walking and running and prevents overpronation and related issues.
The HyProCure® procedure is performed in-office and doesn’t take long. You’ll be able to go home soon after Dr. Nagy completes the treatment. You will need to take some time off from running but will be able to walk unassisted almost immediately. Dr. Nagy will give you specific instructions to ensure your recovery goes smoothly.
If you experience foot pain while running or pain in your knees, hips, and/or back, make an appointment with a New Hampshire podiatrist at Nagy Footcare. At Nagy Footcare, our best day is the day you wake up with no foot pain.