The Cause of Over Pronation

Posted on: Monday, April 29th, 2013

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Many podiatrists will tell you the science behind over-pronation and how this can cause musculo-skeletal pathologies. While this science is not incorrect, there is a more basic cause for this common condition. In this article, we will discuss the underlying cause of over-pronation and how to treat it.

Pronation is of course necessary and is a vital part of the gait cycle. But why do so many people pathologically pronate? The answer can be found in a single word–concrete!

Why is concrete bad for humans? For one, it is a hard and unyielding surface that offers no shock absorption. But the key actually lies in this even more basic fact: concrete causes us to function in only one very limited position. This is the actual reason for over-pronation and why the majority of the population suffers from their orthopedic woes.

This theory was put forth by my business partner, Dr. Robert Levine. I credit him for his insight and observations into the matter. His understanding of this issue leads us to the crux of our discussion and is in fact, the basis of our technology, Structured Biomechanics.

Walking Back Into The Past

Through observation of the conditions that our forefathers lived in, Robert realized that they walked the Earth on various surfaces. Some surfaces were smooth, some were slanted, others rocky and uneven. When walking, living and working on these surfaces it would stand to reason that one must have had to adapt to the changes in these uneven planes. The number of muscles used for such motions would have been much greater than those of a person who walked only on a flat, hard surface. Modern humans do not possess the same range of motion as our forefathers did. As a result, our feet, their joints and all of their muscles do not function in the same manner.

Limited Range of Motion

To demonstrate this more clearly, imagine if you braced your elbow so that it only functioned in a limited range of 30 degrees, as opposed to the usual 150. Now imagine keeping that up for about 12 weeks. What do you think would happen once you took the brace off?

It would be hard to move your arm easily and it would probably be stiff and sore as you tried to rotate it beyond to range you had grown accustomed to. You would have good strength within the limited range, and would be weak outside of it. In such a small amount of time, you would easily be able to see the amount of damage and potential loss of function brought about by such an exercise. Now imagine the effect of this experiment carried out for a year or more. Now imagine a decade, or even a lifetime!

Your foot functions in exactly the same way. We challenge you to ask yourself when the last time was that you actually stepped off a hard flat surface. Hardwood floors, bathroom tile, paved sidewalks, parking lots, concrete floors–we walk them day in and day out. How do you think the developing feet of our children are affected?

Summary

With this information, I would hope you now see that it is not simply the fact that concrete offers little to no shock absorption. It is a much more basic fact, one which can now be solved using the propery treatment.

Like all problems, truly understanding the basic cause of something is the first thing you must achieve before being able to resolve it. In Structured Biomechanics, we have solved the problem with our theory and provide a solution in our scientific approach to biomechanics.

– Dr. John Feulner, DPM & Co-Founder of DPM Practice Solutions