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How Flatfoot Affects Pronation

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It is a bit of a drive—about 6 ½ hours—from our Sacramento, CA community down to Anaheim, but dedicated college hoops fanatics looking to catch the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games in this year’s NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament will gladly make the trek. When they do, these fans have the opportunity to witness memorable—and possibly legendary—moments. They will also witness college athletes pronating with every step.

BasketballThe term may sound impressive, but pronation is not only for athletes. This biomechanical process is performed with every step anyone takes. Individuals with low arches may find that flatfoot affects pronation in a manner that can cause issues, so let’s take a look at how this happens.

It’s best to start by establishing what pronation is. Put simply, this process is an inward rolling motion the foot goes through during the ground portion of a step. It begins with the heel strike, and the foot rotates approximately fifteen percent through the final push of the toes.

More accurately, feet that have a neutral pronation pattern roll about fifteen percent. In other cases, that roll can be excessive. When a foot rolls beyond a neutral pattern, it’s known as overpronation, but hold that thought for a second.

The purpose of pronation is to allow the foot to distribute the tremendous amount of force that comes with a step in a fairly equitable manner, while also establishing an efficient motion so the lower limbs do not become easily fatigued. A neutral pronation pattern achieves these objectives. Overpronation, however, can interfere with them.

So how does a flatfoot condition play a role in all of this? A major player in the whole process is the foot arch. During pronation, the arch collapses and ultimately springs back into position to assist in force load distribution and help move the body forward. Arches that are naturally low do not have much room to collapse, and they do not spring back the same way as “normal” arches.

If a flatfoot condition affects your pronation pattern and is causing issues with your gait, we can help. Call McDowell Podiatry Group at (916) 961-3434 or schedule an appointment with our Carmichael, CA office online today and we can discuss treatment options that will work for you.

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Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.
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