Our feet are the very foundation of our well-being. In fact, our feet serve two main purposes. First, they act as stabilizer, forming a strong foundation of support to hold us up against the forces of gravity and to serve as a rigid lever to propel us forward. Second, they serve as mobilizer, allowing for shock absorption and maximum contact with the ground. The anatomy of a normal foot allows for both of these functions to occur at the same time, but only 30% of the population has normal feet. Most people with abnormal feet tend to hyperpronate (often called overpronationO. Just a small percentage of people are prone to oversupination.
In addition, the muscles and tendons of our feet must work together with the bones, ligaments and joints to accomplish these goals. If one of those components is not functioning properly, all of the other components may be affected.
During heel strike, the foot acts as a shock absorber and begins to pronate. Pronation can best be understood as the motion involved when the foot rolls in and the arch flattens. As this occurs, the foot “unlocks” and becomes loose. It is during this midstance period that the foot is flexible and able to adapt to uneven terrain. After this, the leg begins to externally rotate and the foot begins to supinate. Supination is the opposite of pronation and can be thought of as the motion by which the foot goes from being flat to having a higher arch. This is necessary to make the foot more rigid so it can serve as a lever for propulsion (lifting the foot off the ground by rolling over the big toe).
A foot that hyperpronates tends to create a number of foot ailments and other lower body and/or joint problems. This hyperpronation places excess stress on the tendons and ligaments in the foot and ankle and can create misalignment in other areas of the lower body as well.
Some Common Effects of Hyperpronation
- Plantar fasciitis (heel pain)
- Achilles tendonitis
- Corns, calluses and hammer toes
- Ankle pain
- Shin splints
- Knee pain
- Hip pain
- Low back pain
Fortunately, these problems can be addressed with custom orthotics. In addition, footwear designed specifically for hyperpronation—especially shoes featuring Rejuve Motion Technology™—can be effective in alleviating aches and pains associated with improper foot function.