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What is Overpronation & How Do Orthotics Help?

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Overpronation is a term used to describe an excessive inward rolling motion of the foot during walking or running. This is a natural motion that helps absorb shock and distribute weight as you move, but when the foot rolls too far inward, it can cause problems.

This occurs when the arch of the foot collapses and the foot rolls inward excessively, causing the ankle to twist and the foot to flatten out. This puts extra strain on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the foot and ankle, which can lead to a range of problems, including foot pain, ankle pain, knee pain, and even back pain.

The condition can be caused by several factors, including genetics, foot structure, and certain medical conditions. It can also be exacerbated by wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support or cushioning.

What is Overpronation?

When you overpronate, your feet move in a way that causes the arch of your foot to collapse and your ankle to roll inward excessively. This causes your foot to flatten and rotate inward as it makes contact with the ground.

This inward movement can continue as you push off with your toes, causing your big toe to do most of the work and putting extra stress on the ball of your foot. As a result, overpronation can alter the way you walk or run, leading to a less efficient gait and increasing the risk of injury.

Overpronation can contribute to foot pain, shin splints, knee pain, and other musculoskeletal problems if left untreated.

What is a Normal Gait?

When walking, the heel of the foot typically hits the ground first, followed by the middle and front of the foot as the weight is transferred forward. This sequence is known as the “heel-to-toe” or “rolling” gait, and it allows for efficient weight distribution and shock absorption as the foot makes contact with the ground.

However, some people may have different walking patterns or gaits depending on factors such as foot shape, leg length, or injury history. For example, in overpronation, the foot rolls inward excessively and continues to rotate inward, causing the arch to flatten and the ankle to roll inward.

This can cause the foot to point outward as you walk or run, which can contribute to instability and pain in the ankle, knee, and hip. Overpronation can also cause the big toe to do most of the work during push-off, which can lead to pain and injury in the ball of the foot.

Over time, this abnormal movement pattern can contribute to chronic musculoskeletal problems and make it more difficult to walk, run, or engage in other physical activities.

What Causes Overpronation?

Overpronation is usually caused by the foot’s structure and the way it functions when walking or running. Some of the common causes of overpronation include:

  • Flat feet or Low Arches: People with flat feet or low arches are more prone to overpronation because their feet do not have the natural arch support that can help to distribute weight evenly.

  • Weak Foot and Ankle Muscles: Weak foot and ankle muscles can also contribute to overpronation because they are unable to provide enough support and stability during movement.

  • Improper Footwear: Wearing shoes with inadequate arch support or cushioning can also lead to overpronation, as the foot is not properly supported and may roll inward excessively.

  • Trauma or Injury: Trauma or injury to the foot or ankle can also cause overpronation. This is because the injury can alter the foot’s structure and the way it functions, leading to changes in gait and movement patterns.

  • Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to overpronation, meaning that their foot structure and the way their muscles function may make them more susceptible to this condition.

  • Excess Weight: Carrying extra weight can put a strain on the muscles and ligaments in the foot and ankle, making it harder for them to provide adequate support and stability during movement. This can also contribute to overpronation.

What Can I Do to Correct Overpronation?

Wearing proper footwear can provide sufficient arch support and stability to help control the inward rolling of the foot. It’s important to look for shoes with a firm heel counter to help keep the heel stable and prevent excessive motion.

Custom-made or over-the-counter orthotics can help support the arch and reduce excessive inward rolling of the foot. Although some over-the-counter insoles will provide some of the support you need to relieve pain from overpronation, custom orthotics are designed with the conditions you suffer from in mind.

In addition to supportive footwear, strengthening the muscles in the feet and legs can help improve foot stability and control overpronation. Exercises such as calf raises, heel drops, and foot arch-strengthening exercises can be helpful.

Tight muscles in the calf, hamstrings, and hips can also contribute to overpronation. Stretching these muscles can help improve foot and leg alignment and reduce overpronation.

Sometimes overpronation is a secondary symptom to other gait issues. For example, if you have a gait abnormality, such as leg length discrepancy, correcting this may help reduce overpronation. Identifying the underlying cause of overpronation is the best to manage the condition effectively.

Although the measures listed above can take to help correct your overpronation at home, if overpronation is causing significant pain or interfering with daily activities, it’s vital to seek professional help from a healthcare provider. A podiatrist or physical therapist can evaluate the underlying cause and provide an individualized treatment plan.

What are Some Other Treatment Options for Overpronation?

Resting and icing the affected foot can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with overpronation. Avoiding activities that aggravate the condition can also help prevent further injury. During rest, the muscles and ligaments can recover and strengthen, which can help improve overall foot function and reduce the risk of future injury.

In extreme cases, medical interventions such as corticosteroid injections or surgery may be necessary to correct severe overpronation. The Tenex procedure is a minimally invasive surgery that uses ultrasound to identify and remove damaged tissue in the affected area.

In some cases, arthroscopic surgery may be necessary to correct severe overpronation. During this procedure, small incisions are made in the affected foot, and a small camera and surgical instruments are used to make repairs to the affected tissues.

Another possible surgical procedure that would be performed in an extreme case is an osteotomy. An osteotomy involves realigning bones in the foot to correct alignment issues that contribute to overpronation.

These options are typically reserved for cases where conservative treatments have been unsuccessful.

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics

Overpronation, that excessive inward rolling of your foot with each step, can wreak havoc on your foot health. It can lead to pain in your feet, ankles, and even knees. But there's hope! Bilt Labs custom orthotics offer a personalized solution to address overpronation and get you back on track to a pain-free stride.

Here's how Bilt Labs custom orthotics go beyond generic inserts to combat overpronation:

  • Precise Biomechanical Correction: Unlike generic off-the-shelf options, Bilt Labs orthotics are crafted from a mold of your feet. This meticulous process allows podiatrists to assess your specific gait and identify the degree of overpronation. The orthotics are then designed with targeted features to address these imbalances. This might include medial arch support, which acts like a gentle wedge on the inner aspect of your arch, promoting proper alignment and preventing your foot from rolling inwards excessively.

  • Strategic Pressure Redistribution: Overpronation often leads to uneven pressure distribution across your foot. Bilt Labs orthotics incorporate features like strategically placed cushioning to redistribute pressure away from the overstressed areas, typically the inner arch and heel. This not only reduces pain but also helps prevent future overuse injuries.

  • Enhanced Stability and Gait Efficiency: Custom orthotics from Bilt Labs are crafted with high-quality materials that provide superior stability and support. This, combined with the biomechanical corrections, helps promote a more efficient gait. By ensuring proper alignment with each step, Bilt Labs orthotics can minimize muscle fatigue and improve your overall walking or running experience.

If you suspect you overpronate, consulting a podiatrist is crucial for a proper diagnosis. They can assess your gait and recommend the most suitable treatment options, which might include Bilt Labs custom orthotics. With their personalized approach, Bilt Labs orthotics can help you correct overpronation, alleviate pain, and get you back to enjoying an active lifestyle.

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics


While overpronation can be a concern, it doesn't have to sideline you. Consulting a podiatrist and exploring treatment options like custom orthotics can significantly improve your foot health and alignment. Bilt Labs custom orthotics, with their targeted support, pressure redistribution, and biomechanical corrections, can help you conquer overpronation, step out of pain, and rediscover the joy of movement. Take our free quiz today to find out which orthotic type is best for your feet.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about your health. If you have any questions about your health or are experiencing any medical problems, please contact your doctor or other healthcare provider immediately. Do not delay seeking medical attention based on the information provided in this article.