Overpronation and Knee Pain: Why It Happens & How to Fix It

Overpronation and Knee Pain: Why It Happens & How to Fix It
Improper foot pronation and knee pain are inextricably related. Overpronation causes the ankles to roll inward, which can cause the knees to knock. Paired with the force exerted by the hips and thighs during a run, overpronation can cause intense knee pain that can make it tough to enjoy a workout.

Here, we'll take a look at how overpronation and knee pain are connected, how to help knee pain from overpronation, and how overpronation can be corrected.

What Is Overpronation?

If you're dealing with foot pronation knee pain, you're not alone. Overpronation is a common condition that can cause ankle, knee, and hip pain.

When a person overpronates, they turn their foot inward as they strike the ground, moving the leg out of alignment. When a runner overpronates for a significant period of time, they may experience a flattening of the arches of the feet, as well as knocked knees.

The Foot-Knee Connection

The way that the foot strikes the ground directly impacts the force placed upon the knee during running. When overpronation occurs, the ankles, knees, and hips receive more impact than they would if the foot were evenly striking the ground. The problem with overpronation is twofold: the knees receive excessive force, and leg muscles are forced to work unnaturally as they work to balance forces caused by misalignment.

If you have high arches and knee pain, you're more likely to be under pronating (rolling the feet outward as the foot strikes the ground) rather than overpronating. Special shoes and inserts can help under-pronators correct their foot strike, potentially lessening knee pain and lessening the likelihood of injury.

How to Help Knee Pain From Overpronation

Thankfully, people with overpronation and knee pain can use different techniques to alleviate their symptoms.

Overpronation Knee Pain Exercises

  1. Arch Lifts: People who overpronate tend to roll their feet inward toward the arch of the foot during each foot strike. Arch lifts can help correct this issue. To perform an arch lift, stand with both feet on the ground. While keeping the heels and the toes on the ground, lift the arches of each foot.

  2. Pen Lifts: Place a pen on the floor and pick it up with the toes of one foot. Alternate between feet. This exercise can help to strengthen the muscles of the foot, making it easier to correct an inward-trending foot strike.

  3. Clamshells: To perform a clamshell, lie down on your side with the knees bent. Keep the ankles together while opening the knees like a clamshell. Repeat on both sides. This exercise can help strengthen muscles that can keep the hips, knees, ankles, and feet aligned despite a tendency to overpronate.

Can Overpronation Be Corrected?

Some people choose to have their tendency to overpronate corrected surgically. Thankfully, surgery is not the only option. Corrective exercises (like the ones above), orthotic inserts, and mindfulness while running can all go a long way in easing pain caused by overpronation.

How Long Does It Take To Fix Overpronation?

Overpronation surgery has a 12-week recovery period. Other methods of fixing overpronation require ongoing dedication, including a commitment to corrective exercise and using orthotic inserts.

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