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Exercises to correct excessive ankle and foot pronation

It’s important to understand that pronation of your foot or ankle is a normal part of how we walk. It’s only when it’s excessive or not well controlled that it may cause injuries. In this article I explain what exercises I usually prescribe to help correct over-pronation.



In this article:

  • What is an ideal foot posture?

  • Practising the components

  • Putting it all together

  • Video demonstration of exercises to correct over-pronation


What is an ideal foot posture?


Our feet all look different and there is truly no ideal shape. I was trying to think about how to describe what I look for in people’s feet but have come to the conclusion that it’s easier to explain it in a video (see below).


In short, we’re looking for an arch under the middle of the foot. This arch can be high for some people and very low for others. The important thing is that your arch should allow your foot (the subtalar joint specifically) to sit in a neutral position so that the foot does not form a big angle with the tibia by rolling in excessively (pronation).


If your foot does sit in a more pronated position it will cause the ligaments and tendons on the inside of the foot to strain and the ankle joint on the outside to compress causing Sinus Tarsi Syndrome. I often find this to be the case if patients struggle with ongoing pain over the outside of their feet after an ankle sprain. It may also cause injuries in your knee and hip.


Sometimes your foot may have a good posture while you’re standing but then roll in excessively when you’re walking or running.


Strengthening the muscles inside your foot as well the ones that control pronation can help to support your arch, restore your foot’s posture and help you to control pronation better when you walk and run.



Practising the components


When teaching foot correction exercises I usually break it down to the component parts first and do:

  1. Exercises that strengthen the intrinsic muscles inside the foot. These are meant to support your foot’s arch as your walk.

  2. Exercises that strengthen the muscles that control pronation like the Tibialis Anterior and the Tibialis Posterior muscles.


Putting it all together


Once you’ve got the hang of the basic exercises you have to put it all together. I usually get my patients to first practise correcting their feet in sitting. Once they can do it easily in sitting I get them to do it in standing and finally in more challenging positions like standing on one leg and while doing more dynamic movements. Have a look at the video below for some ideas.


Video demonstration of exercises to correct over-pronation


In this video I walk you through some of the most basic exercises that you can do to help strengthen your feet and correct over-pronation.



Let me know if you have any questions. You’re also welcome to consult me online via video call if you would like me to assess your feet and give you exercises adapted specifically for you.

Best wishes

Maryke


About the Author

Maryke Louw is a chartered physiotherapist with more than 15 years' experience and a Masters Degree in Sports Injury Management. Follow her on LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

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