What a Wichita Podiatrist Discovers When Examining Your Footprint

Ever examine your footprint after walking in sand? What does it look like? With a normal footstep, the heel hits the ground first, followed by a rolling motion of the foot towards the forefoot and toes. Finally, the footstep is completed by pushing off the foot's ball area. During the motion of a normal footstep, the arch absorbs shock as it slightly flattens when the foot rolls toward the toes; the arch then springs back up into position. About half of the arch touches the ground, which is considered normal pronation, or natural movement of the foot.

But many people don’t have a footprint and movement like this. Here’s what the professionals at Central Kansas Podiatry Associates can determine from taking a peek at your feet.

What Your Footprint Says About Foot Health 

Overpronation and underpronation are two types of irregular footsteps. This is how they differ.  

  • With overpronation, the foot rolls toward the inside more so than usual. This indicates a flat foot and low or collapsed arch. This misalignment can cause strained arches and pain along the inner area of the knee. 
  • With underpronation, the foot rolls toward the outside edge. This means there’s a high arch. Untreated, it results in sprained ankles and stress fractures because the arch does not flatten enough to absorb shock.

Left untreated, both conditions can increase your risk of injury

If you’re curious about your footprint, do a simple water test: 

  • Wet the entire bottom of your foot, then step your wet foot onto a piece of dark, heavy paper or a paper bag. 
  • See if your footprint shows about half of the arch (normal pronation), an oblong shape with no space left for the arch (overpronation), or only a thin line along the outside of the foot, next to the space left by the arch (underpronation).

Choosing the right kind of footwear is essential to avoid the injuries that often result from overpronation and underpronation. Individuals with normal pronation can wear almost any shoe type without compensation for a high or fallen arch. Overpronators benefit from over-the-counter, molded-leather arch supports, stability shoes, or motion-control shoes. Underpronators should have a shoe with a neutral cushion and softer midsole to absorb shock—they should avoid motion-control footwear.

In our Wichita podiatry office, we’ll conduct a gait analysis to accurately assess your footprint, and if there are any concerns with overpronation or underpronation, provide additional recommendations such as custom orthotics, supportive taping, and more to prevent further problems.

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