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7 Best Exercises for Overpronated Feet

Babafemi Adebajo
By Babafemi Adebajo
Joel Taylor
Reviewed by Joel Taylor

Updated March 8, 2023.

A person using a tennis ball to improve overpronation symptoms

Pronation is the normal inward rolling of the foot as you move from place to place. This is a normal phenomenon; however, the problem starts when you begin to overpronate or underpronate. With overpronation, the foot rolls inwards and downwards excessively, commonly as a result of flat feet.

In itself, overpronation isn’t painful. However, if it continues long enough, overpronation can reduce one's quality of life. Possible symptoms include a strain in the big toe, foot instability, tibial rotation, and posterior tibial tendon dysfunction.

7 Best Exercises for Overpronated Feet

Here are some easy exercises you can do to strengthen your feet and reduce any negative effects of overpronation.

1. Tripod Push

Purpose: To strengthen the arch

  • Using your big toe, little toe, and the heel as pivots, press your foot into the ground.
  • Attempt to squeeze all three points together. This will force your arch to contract.
  • Hold for five to ten seconds and then release.
  • Perform five to ten reps per set.

2. Towel Scrunch

Purpose: To strengthen the foot

  • While seated in a chair with bare feet, spread out a towel on the floor in front of you.
  • Pull the towel towards your body using your toes.
  • Do five to ten repetitions per session.

3. Heel Stretch

Purpose: To stretch the Achilles tendon

  • From an erect standing position, put one foot about a step in front of the other.
  • Bend the front leg and push forward, putting all your weight on the front foot while ensuring your back remains straight. You’ll feel a stretch at the back of the leg.
  • Hold the position for up to 30 seconds and repeat with the other leg.
  • Perform up to four times on each foot.

4. Calf Raise

Purpose: To strengthen the calf muscles

  • While standing erect, lift both heels as high as possible off the ground.
  • Hold for five seconds before lowering your feet.
  • Repeat 15 to 20 times per set.

5. Clamshells

Purpose: To strengthen the side and compensate for overpronation

  • While lying on your side, bend your knees and ankles together.
  • Open and close your knees while keeping your ankles together, like a clamshell. You can use a resistance band around your thighs to provide extra resistance.
  • Repeat ten to 15 times.

6. Jump Squat

Purpose: To strengthen the calf muscles

  • With your toes turned outward, stand with your feet slightly apart.
  • While keeping your spine erect, send your hips back and bend the knees until your glutes are lower than your knees.
  • From the squatting position, jump up and land as softly as possible.
  • Repeat up to ten times.

7. Single-Leg Deadlift

Purpose: To strengthen and tone the glutes and improve gait and balance

  • While standing, shift your weight onto the left leg, leaning forward at the hips.
  • Lower your left hand toward the floor and lift the right leg backward simultaneously. You’ll need to allow a micro-bend in the left knee to complete the motion.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat with the alternate limb.
  • Complete ten to 15 reps in a session.

Other Treatment Options for Overpronation

To fix overpronated ankles, there are several other effective treatment options for overpronation. They include:

  1. NSAIDs and ice: When overpronation results in pain, using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and ice will help relieve the pain.
  2. Custom orthotics: While over-the-counter insoles may work, custom insoles for flat feet are best. Your doctor or podiatrist may prescribe custom-designed rigid arch support. The arch support will realign the subtalar joint and restore proper joint positioning.
  3. Supportive shoes: Shoes with proper arch support and motion control will help keep the foot aligned and stable. Be sure to avoid shoes with flexible soles.
  4. Bracing and taping: These limit the outward rolling of the foot.
  5. Physical therapy: This entails a combination of gait reeducation, TENS to relieve pain, and other modalities depending on the indication of the condition.
  6. Surgery: Surgery is often considered a last resort because it is complex and requires a long recovery time. The surgical approach can be a soft tissue correction, bone surgery, or the fusion of unstable joints.

Can Overpronation Be Cured With Exercises?

If caught early, exercises can be very useful in treating flat feet. Both strengthening and stretching exercises are recommended. Exercises for flat feet can help strengthen the foot arch, and stride, and reduce the loading of the foot associated with overpronation. Although exercises can provide some much-needed pain relief, they are not a cure for overpronation. Pairing these exercises with the use of orthotics is a highly effective way to ensure the symptoms of overpronation do not worsen.

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When Should You See a Doctor for Overpronation?

Initially, overpronation is not a problem. However, after some time, it will begin to cause unnecessary pain when walking or running. Once the symptoms get exacerbated or begin to affect your quality of life, you should consider seeing a doctor.

The doctor will take a detailed history and perform a thorough examination of your foot and analyze your gait to determine the state of the foot and appropriate intervention.

Pronation Custom Orthotics

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