What is overpronation of the ankle?
In short, when we walk, typically the outside of our heel strikes the ground first and then the rest of our foot rolls to come in contact with the ground. Then our foot rolls further inward so the push-off comes primarily from the big toe. When a person overpronates, the foot continues to roll inward too far.
Runner’s World has a nice video showing overpronation. See this link.
Overpronation is often associated with flat feet and it seems to be more common in people with Down syndrome. It can cause foot, ankle, knee, hip, and even back pain.
A physical exam is usually all that is needed to make the diagnosis. Treatment consists of supporting the foot to prevent it from rolling in too far and can include:
Wearing shoes designed for overpronation
Putting inserts in your shoes
Using custom orthotics usually obtained from a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon
I usually recommend going to a shoe store with a sales person knowledgeable about overpronation who can make a recommendation. Alternately, you can look up which shoes are best for the condition before going to a store and looking for those particular shoes. For example, Asics has a “Pronation Guide” with recommendations for underpronators, neutral pronators, and overpronators on their website. It can be found at this link. Brooks has a “Shoe Finder” guide that walks you through questions to make a shoe recommendation that can be found at this link. Some shoes for overpronation can be a little clunky and difficult for people with Down syndrome to walk in. I recommend trying the shoes on to make sure they don’t feel too heavy or clunky.
An arch support to put inside your shoe may also help. I used Spenco for years but there are many available brands. Another brand is j1 insoles.
Support of the foot and ankle for an overpronator can prevent injury and help optimize function (walking, running, etc.). Additional information about foot support for people with Down syndrome can be found on this page of the Mann Method PT and Fitness website.
**Please note: We share information from specific brands for educational purposes only. The Adult Down Syndrome Center does not receive financial support or compensation for sharing information about products.