How to Correct Overpronation Walking: 4 Effective Solutions

Are you constantly experiencing excruciating pain when walking or running? If so, then overpronation might be the problem. 

Overpronation is a foot condition whereby your foot rolls inwards excessively when walking. This motion puts extra stress on the heels, ankles, and knees. Ultimately, this leads to harrowing pain and injuries.

But how do you deal with overpronation, and how can you prevent it?

The easiest way to deal with overpronation is wearing supportive footwear when walking. You can also wear orthotics and do strengthening exercises.

In this article, I will explain more about this. By the end of it, you can expect to learn the following:

  • How to tell you are an overpronator
  • Symptoms of pronation
  • Causes of overpronation
  • Best ways to deal with and correct overpronation

Also, ensure you stick with me to the end. I will also answer several frequently asked questions about overpronation. 

What is Overpronation, and Why Does it Matter?

What is Overpronation?

Overpronation is a condition where your foot will roll further inward than usual. This foot condition is also what doctors refer to as “Pes Planus.” According to an article on ASICS’ website, up to 60% of runners are mild overpronators, and Around 20-30% are severe overpronators.

The foot problem is more common in people with weak arches and flat feet. To show you how overpronation happens, imagine your foot is a car. Your foot’s arch is the suspension. Like the suspension, your foot should roll inwards slightly when walking. This roll allows it to absorb impact. If you are an overpronator, the foot will roll inward excessively. It is, hence, like driving your car with the suspension broken. The car will swerve and bounce, making the ride uncomfortable. For the foot, it means walking will be uncomfortable and painful.

If left untreated, overpronation can lead to painful conditions and injuries like:

  • Shin Splints: Shin splints affect the bone tissue around the tibia. They are more common in runners and athletes.
  • Stress Fractures: These are small fractures on the bone. They are caused by the stress of constant overpronation.
  • Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the plantar fascia. It is often caused by an unnatural gait. Excessive stress on the foot bottom also worsens the problem.
  • Metatarsalgia: A condition that results in pain around the ball of the foot. Overpronation causes puts extra stress on the metatarsal bones. It eventually leads to metatarsalgia.
  • Achilles tendonitis: Condition that results in inflammation of the Achilles tendon. Overpronation puts a lot of stress on this tendon. 

Anatomical Factors that Contribute to Overpronation

1. Wide Feet: Wide feet typically have a flatter arch than normal feet. This and the fact they also have weaker muscles can cause overpronation. Having wide feet also means you are often forced to wear poorly fitting shoes. Improper shoe fit puts extra stress on the arches, leading to overpronation.

2. Flat Feet: With flat feet, you have no arch. The entire foot sole touches the ground. This naturally forces the foot to roll inward when walking.

3. High Arches: High arches lead to tight calf muscles. The tightness limits the range of motion around the ankle joint. And this, in turn, forces the foot to roll inwards.

4. Short Achilles tendon: A shorter Achilles tendon limits your ankle’s range of motion.

5. Excess weight: Obese people often have flat feet and fallen arches. And this is because the feet have to bear extra weight when walking and running. Eventually, this will lead to excessive pronation.

Symptoms of Overpronation

  • Uneven shoe wear: Your shoe’s outer edges will wear out faster than the inner edges.
  • Knee and inner ankle pain: Extra stress on the ankles and knees can cause pain in either or both.
  • Fatigue: Overpronation will cause unnatural motion for the feet, legs, and back. This then leads to excess fatigue.
  • Calluses or Banions: The extra stress on the big toe can cause banions and calluses.

Assessing Your Pronation Type

It is important to evaluate your pronation type before looking for solutions. You must ascertain whether you are an overpronator, supinator, or neutral pronator. There are several easy self-diagnosis you can use. The three below are the best ones:

1. Shoe Wear Pattern

If you have worn the shoes for some time, check their wear pattern.

  • You are overpronating if you notice more wear on the outer edges of the sole.
  • If there is more wear on the inner edges, you are a supinator (under pronator),
  • If the wear looks uniform, you are a neutral pronator.

2. Wet Test

Do the wet test by wetting the sole of your foot and stepping on a wet paper. Check the impression you make to determine your pronation.

  • Overpronators will show no arch or a flat arch on the print.
  • Supinators will show a high arch.
  • Normal or neutral pronators will leave a complete footprint with a moderate arch.

3. Inward Bowing

This test only requires watching how your feet bow when walking barefoot. If the angles seem to roll inwards, you are an overpronator. If they roll outwards, you are a supinator. You are a neutral pronator if they do not appear to move.

These self-diagnoses can give you an idea of your pronation but are not always accurate. It is better to have a podiatrist do a specialized pronation analysis.

4 Solutions to Correct Overpronation Walking: Lifestyle Changes and Foot Exercises

Correcting overpronation will require both lifestyle changes and foot exercises. Here is an overview of the best ways to deal with the problem:

I. Simple Daily and Weeks Actions

1. Regular Foot Stretches

Daily foot stretches will improve your range of motion and flexibility. Both are highly useful for dealing with overpronation. You can perform simple exercises like toe curls and ankle rolls. Start with a few daily stretches and gradually increase the number and intensity.

Here is a list of foot stretches that can help:

  • Tripod Push
  • Calf Raise
  • Clamshells
  • Towel Scrunch
  • Heel Stretch
  • Jump Squats

2. Wear Supportive Shoes

Next, you need to change your footwear. Overpronators need shoes that can support their arches. These shoes will prevent the excessive inward foot roll when walking. Stability shoes are the best. You can also insert custom orthotics in the shoes for a cheaper alternative.

3. Lose Some Weight

Obesity results in fallen arches and overpronation. The extra weight puts too much pressure on the feet, leading to overpronation. You should, hence, start shedding the extra pounds.

4. Avoid High Heels

High heels will force the feet to stay in an unnatural ankle. This posture contributes to overpronation. As an overpronator, you should avoid high heels until the issue is corrected.

5. Avoid Barefoot Walking

Walking barefoot puts your feet under more pressure. Avoid walking barefoot to ensure the feet always have some support. This way, you reduce the risk of overpronation and injuries.

6. Soothe Arches with a Tennis Ball

Make it a habit to roll a tennis ball under the foot arch. Doing this improves flexibility and massages your plantar fascia. Both can reduce pain and overpronation.

II. Choosing the Right Shoes and Insoles

Proper footwear is the best way to deal with overpronation. It should be easy to get a good pair if you know what to look for. The goal is to find something to support the feet and absorb shock.

Look for a shoe with the following features:

  • Stability control: This feature keeps the foot in place. It prevents it from rolling inwards as you walk. Here is a list of top shoe brands and their best stability shoes:
    • Brooks: Adrenaline GTS, Launch GTS and Ghost
    • Saucony: Guide and Tempus
    • Asics: Gel-Kayano and  Gel-Kayano Lite
    • New Balance: Fresh Foam 860 and Fresh Foam 1080 v13
    • Mizuno: Wave Inspire and Wave Rider
    • Hoka: Arahi and Bondi

*The list is not conclusive. These brands have several other stability shoes. Plus, other brands like Nike and Adidas also have stability shoes.

  • Anti-torsion bars: Some brands use stiff pieces of plastic to control overpronation. These plastics are inserted in the midsole to prevent the shoe from twisting. This, in turn, minimizes overpronation.
  • Firm heel counters: These counters hold your heels in place. It prevents them from rolling inward when walking.
  • Full contact outsoles: A full contact outsole promotes a more natural gait. It also ensures even weight distribution. Both will help prevent overpronation.

Other Handy Tips to Remember

  • Get the size right. Go a size or half a size high if you have wide feet.
  • Allow the shoes to break in (at least a week or 2) before going for long runs/walks.
  • Get your shoes fitted correctly in a specialty store where possible.
  • Change your shoes regularly(at least every 300 to 500 miles).

CAUTION: It is crucial to avoid minimalist shoes. Minimalist shoes will not provide adequate support or shock absorption. They can, hence, make the overpronation worse. If you cannot afford a stability shoe, I’d recommend using stability insoles. They are more affordable but can still help with overpronation.

III. Orthotics and Braces

Custom orthotics and over-the-counter insoles can also help deal with overpronation. They help by realigning your feet. It is crucial to ensure they fit correctly and are made from the right material. Otherwise, they might not work as intended.

Luckily, there are many options to choose from, including:

1. Impression molded orthotics 

These are typically issued by a podiatrist. They are the most effective in dealing with overpronation. Simply because they are custom-made specifically for your feet. Most are made from carbon fiber, plastic, or cork.

2. Heat-moldable inserts

These inserts are heated and molded to your feet. They are made from soft materials like EVA. Plus, the inserts are cheaper than impression-molded orthotics.

3. Supportive insoles 

Supportive insoles with arch support and pronation control can also help. While not as effective as impression-molded orthotics, they are an excellent short-term solution. They are ideal for mild and moderate overpronation. You can get them over the counter in most drug and sports stores.

4. Speciality braces

Specialty braces can also help deal with overpronation. They help by providing support and stability. Here are some examples of the best types to use:

5. Ankle braces

Ankle braces provide stability and support for the ankle joint. By keeping it secure in place, they can prevent the foot from rolling inward excessively

6. Knee braces

Knee branches will not prevent the foot from overpronating. They will, however, help minimize its effect. And they also reduce the overpronation motion. You can use them to ensure less stress and pain in your knee joints.

7. Motion control shoes

Motion control shoes provide overpronation control. They have a firm midsole and extra cushioning. These features provide stability and support. Motion control shoes can help with overpronation. The shoes will not work for very severe cases.

IV. Additional Treatment Options

For most people, the lifestyle changes above should fix their overpronation. Sometimes, it may fail to work. In such instances, seeing a podiatrist is the best course of action. If  your case is severe, they will recommend one of the following:

1. Physical therapy

A podiatrist can recommend you see a physical therapist. The therapist will then schedule you for sessions to help correct your overpronation. Physical therapy aims to strengthen ankle and foot muscles. Doing so ensures the foot maintains a more natural stance and will not roll inwards.

2. Foot-strengthening exercises

The podiatrist can also put you on a strict foot-strengthening exercise routine. They can recommend exercises meant to improve your range of motion and flexibility. Some exercises you are likely to do are toe raises, heel raises, and ankle rolls.

3. Arch supports

You might also be required to wear arch supports. Here, the options will be to either get a custom one made by the podiatrist or buy over the counter. The custom arch support is more effective but expensive.

4. Custom shoe inserts

The podiatrist can also recommend custom shoe inserts for some cases. You can have them made by a podiatrist or buy them in a sports store.

5. Anti-inflammatory medications

The pain from overpronation can be unbearable. Podiatrists often recommend getting nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain management. These dugs include ibuprofen and naproxen.

6. Shockwave therapy

This non-invasive treatment uses acoustic shock waves to stimulate healing. For overpronation, it will target bones, muscles, tendons, and tissue. Shockwave therapy has been shown to be effective in dealing with overpronation. It helps by reducing pain and inflammation.

7. Surgery (rarely needed)

When all other remedies and treatments fail, the podiatrists might recommend surgery. While it is rare, sometimes it is the only option left. Here the surgeon has to realign the bones on the ankle and heel to correct overpronation.

NOTE: It is essential to know that you hardly ever need these intensive treatments. Still, you should remember they are available if everything else fails.

Troubleshooting Common Issues when correct overpronation 

Sometimes, the measures you take to correct overpronation can have issues. Luckily, they are often easy to troubleshoot. Here are the two most common issues you are likely to encounter and what to do:

1. Orthotics move around in shoes 

In some cases, your orthotics keep moving around in shoes. Besides being uncomfortable, this can worsen the overpronation. It can also lead to other foot injuries. Here is the best way to fix the problem:

  • Get the size right: Even if you know your shoe size, you may still get the wrong orthotic size. It is always better to get precise measurements done by a podiatrist. It is also better to have them mold a custom orthotic. This way, you can be sure it will be a perfect fit.
  • Choose the right material: A firmer, semi-rigid material like cork is the best. The material is more likely to stay in place. Plus, it will be more supportive compared to something softer like EVA.
  • Orthotic-friendly shoes: Sometimes the issue is with your shoes. Try getting a pair of orthotic-friendly shoes with a removable insole.

2. No changes after several months 

Trying several treatments but not seeing any change can be frustrating.  And this is more so if you have been at it for months. The best course of action is to start over again. Doing this allows you to determine where you might be going wrong.

Here are some tips that can help:

  • Reassess your pronation type to make sure you are treating the correct issue.
  • Check your footwear and ensure it is appropriate for your pronation.
  • Check whether the shoes have adequate arch support and are the correct size.
  • Try transitioning slowly to stability shoes. Meanwhile, also make the other lifestyle changes mentioned earlier.
  • Talk to your podiatrist to get better prescription orthotics and additional care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you naturally correct overpronation?

Yes, it is possible to correct overpronation naturally. You can correct it without seeking any treatment from a podiatrist. Here are a few tips that can help with this:

  • Do regular foot exercises to strengthen foot muscles and improve flexibility.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Wear supportive and proper-fitting shoes.
  • Use over-the-counter or custom orthotics.

Can overpronation be fixed without surgery?

Yes, in fact, the majority of cases will not require surgery. Surgery is always the last option. Many podiatrists will only recommend it if every other treatment fails. It will often be months or years before you finally get surgery.

The treatments we discussed earlier are typically all needed to correct the condition. Surgery is only necessary for very severe cases.

Does overpronation worsen with age?

Like most other conditions, overpronation can worsen as you age. Aging is associated with weakening muscles and tendons on the foot and ankles. Their range of motion is also greatly reduced. All this can make your overpronation worse.

Aging also increases the prevalence of foot pain, and your arches drop further. Both are a good indication of a worsening case of overpronation.

How long do stability shoes last?

Around 300 to 500 miles. They will last for more or less the same time as regular shoes. The actual service life will, however, depend on several factors. These factors include the following.

  • Quality of the material
  • Overall construction
  • Brand (Stability shoes from top brands like Hoka and New Balance are more durable.)
  • Your weight and running style
  • Where you will be using the shoes (terrain)

Are custom orthotics covered by insurance?

Yes, most medical insurance will cover custom orthotics either completely or partially. It is essential to check your plan before getting custom orthotics.

Some plans only consider over-the-counter orthotics as necessary and custom ones not. Such a policy will hence only cove the OTC orthotics.

Can orthotics be transferred between shoes?

In most cases, yes. Custom orthotics are made specifically for your feet. You should be able to use them in most of your shoes. Still, that largely depends on the shoe type. For instance, you can use the same orthotics in your running, walking and hiking shoes. You may find it hard to use them on dress shoes, skis or sandals.

What sports increase overpronation risk?

All sports that put extra stress on your feet and ankles increase the risk of overpronation. Sports that force you to overuse your foot muscles and tendons also put you at more risk. Such sports include:

  • Running 
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Tennis


Overpronation is a painful and uncomfortable condition. Unfortunately, many athletes have to deal with it at some point. The good news is that correcting it or at least reducing the pain is relatively easy.

The best correction is to ensure you wear proper footwear. Well-cushioned and supportive shoes will prevent your feet from rolling inward when walking. Regular foot strengthening exercises and shedding off the extra weight are also helpful.

That said, dealing with the problem requires first identifying your pronation.  It is also essential to understand the causes and symptoms of overpronation. And if you cannot deal with it at home, you should seek the help of a podiatrist.

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