Tag Archives: foot

What is overpronation of the foot?

Overpronation is a phrase that causes a lot of angst among podiatrists and running footwear shops mainly because it creates a great deal of confusion and argument. Pronation is actually a movement of the foot where the ankle rolls inwards and the arch of the foot collapses. This is a normal healthy movement that is essential for normal foot biomechanics and impact moderation. Overpronation is meant to be the word employed to describe when there is an excessive amount of this normal pronation. The first part of the controversy is just what is normal and what is abnormal and where may be the threshold of the split between normal pronation and overpronation. There are formidable opinions on every side of this debate and there doesn't seem to be any solution in the discussion in the near future.

The key reason why the topic creates a huge amount of debate is that overpronation continues to be thought to be a key factor in overuse injuries in athletes. Podiatric doctors frequently use foot orthoses to treat the condition and running shoe producers make running shoes to help athletes which have the condition. This means there is lots of vested interest in it. The problem arises is that the research evidence demonstrates that, yes, overpronation is definitely a risk factor for a running injury, but it is not a big risk factor. It can be further complex by a lot of athletes who have fairly severe overpronation and do not develop any problems and do not need foot orthoses or running shoes with the motion control design features. That will not help take care of the debate nor help clinicians make judgements re foot supports and for running footwear retailers on advice as to what needs to be the right running shoe. It really comes down to clinicians and running shoe retailer’s individual experience and expertise and making choices in the framework of what exactly is ideal for the individual runner.

How are corns on the foot treated?

Corns are a common problem of the foot that can be painful and difficult to manage. They are due to an excessive amount of pressure on an area of skin. They are part of a normal process that has gone awry. When there is too much pressure on the skin, that area of skin will thicken up to protect itself. If the pressure goes on over a long time, it becomes so thick that it is painful. This is similar to the process that happens when, for instance, chopping wood. Doing this, you eventually produce a callus on your palm. The same thing happens on the foot with pressure from the surface or pressure on a toe from footwear. When you quit cutting wood, the thicker skin on the palms subside. The problem in the foot is that you keep using footwear and you continue walking, so the pressure continues and the thicker skin forms into a corn and becomes painful.

Getting rid of corns is relatively easy and a skilled podiatrist will be able to remove them. That is the simple part. The hard part is stopping them returning. It can be one thing to take them off, however unless you take away that cause (the greater pressures on the skin), then they will just return eventually. Corns do not have roots that they grow back from. They keep coming back because the cause is still there. Removing a corn is like managing the symptom. They will come back unless the reason is taken away. This is where the skill of a podiatrist is needed to identify the proper cause. A complete assessment is necessary of the biomechanics, shoes, foot structure and lifestyle to work out just what it is that causes the higher pressure. Once that reason has been identified, then different interventions can be used to remove that pressure. This can vary from simple shoe advice to foot supports to surgery.