What Is Hyperpronation And Do You Have It?

One of my patients, having seen a podiatrist for his foot problems, was told that his feet severely hyperpronate. He asked me what hyperpronation means and how it relates to his flatfeet.

In order to understand what foot hyperpronation is, we must first understand what foot pronation is.

Foot pronation is a normal rotation of the feet, when we walk. It is an inward, forward and downward movement. The inward rotation (which occurs within the subtalar joint) is such a small amount of movement, that as we look at the foot (while walking), the rotation cannot be seen.

When the foot normally pronates, you will see a well formed arch in your footprint, similar to the one in Figure A below.

The reason it is important for normal foot pronation to occur is that this movement allows the entire foot to adapt to uneven ground surfaces (such as stones, slanted or uneven surfaces) when you walk..

Hyperpronation is an abnormal (excessive) rotation that occurs in the feet. That is, the inward rotation of the subtalar joint is of such a magnitude that it allows the inner arch to move downward towards the ground. If the hyperpronation is severe enough, the inner arch may actually reach the ground. Hence the expression: Flat as a pancake. See Figure B, above.

You can observe the degree of your foot pronation by doing a ‘sand or wet foot test’:
Walk in sand or wet the bottom of your feet and walk on a section of pavement. You could even wet your feet in the tub, then step out onto a flattened brown paper bag. Look at the footprints you leave. Normal foot pronation will leave foot imprints similar to the one in Figure A. Excessive foot pronation (hyperpronation) will leave foot imprints similar to the one in Figure B.

As you learn more about Rothbart Proprioceptive therapy, you may find that addressing and effectively treating your foot structure may be the missing link to ending your longtime battle with unrelenting muscle and joint pain.