Foot Health Blog
Find expert articles from physical therapists and podiatrists to help understand, diagnose, and treat different foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, flat feet, and more.
PronationBest Inserts for Basketball Shoes to Prevent PronationBasketball players cannot avoid repetitive stress on their lower limbs—it just comes with the territory. Whether you're blocking a jump shot or trying to shoot the ball through the hoop, how your feet strike the ground can determine if you’ll go home injured or finish the night on the court.
Even with appropriate shoes, the risk of injury remains. But with overpronation, the risk increases. However, there is a simple solution: add inserts to your shoes.
If you haven't yet, then you may soon become overwhelmed by the number of products in the market as you conduct your search. Stop right there, because we've compiled a list of our top 7 best inserts for basketball shoes.
» Should all athletes wear orthotics? Discover which athletes can benefit from wearing orthotics
1. Upstep Pronation Custom Orthotics
Upstep Pronation Custom Orthotics are designed specifically for you by professional podiatrists based on your foot shape. As there may be different underlying causes in each case, these custom orthotics aim to provide you with a long-term solution that fits into your lifestyle easily.
Their reinforced heel counters and arch support limit pronation and foot fatigue, while keeping the foot naturally aligned and allowing a range of movements. These insoles also guarantee maximum support, shock absorption, and foot pain relief.
Finally, Upstep Pronation Custom Orthotics are affordable and HSA/FSA eligible.
» What is underpronation? Learn the difference between overpronation vs underpronation
2. Upstep Basketball Custom Orthotics
Upstep Basketball Custom Orthotics are a work of art and a natural top choice for basketball players looking to prevent pronation. These insoles have a durable polypropylene shell, a cushioned middle layer, and a high-quality top layer, guaranteeing comfort, shock absorption, and maximum energy return every time.
Despite this, the insoles remain lightweight and won't drag you down. Their custom-made design ensures they fit easily into any sneaker, while efficiently reducing pronation and improving performance.
» Should you wear sport-specific orthotics? Consider why different athletes benefit differently from orthotics
3. Superfeet Carbon Insoles
Superfeet Carbon Insoles are lightweight, low-profile inserts made from carbon fiber material that will hold up to the demands of a long game or practice. It has a structured heel cup that provides increased stability and support for the arch, thus limiting pronation.
Sometimes, they can be too thin, especially in shoes with very little cushioning. So, you need to pay attention to the cushioning in your shoe before picking one. They can also be slippery and slide around in your basketball sneakers, making them less than ideal.
4. SOLE Active Thin Insoles with Metatarsal Pad
SOLE Active Thin Insoles come with a thin yet durable EVA footbed. The footbeds are made from recycled wine corks, making them eco-friendly.
The footbed is multi-layered, has a pronounced ridge, and extra cushioning at the forefoot. Consequently, the insole keeps the foot aligned in its natural position and relieves pressure on the ball of the foot.
However, the insoles are best suited for slim or tightfitting footwear. They're also not custom-made, but can be molded at home through heat or by being worn. Therefore, the fit and support may not be ideal.
5. Tread Labs Dash Thin Insoles
Tread Labs Dash Thin insoles are also made from carbon fiber, making them light and super-thin. They have firm, durable arch support that limits pronation and improves foot alignment as well as deep heel cups that provide cushioning.
However, it's not custom-fitted, thereby possibly reducing its effectiveness. Instead, it comes in specific sizes and four different arch heights that may require trimming to fit.
6. Protalus T-100 Elite Insoles
Protalus T-100 Elite Insoles are durable, comfortable, and affordable. These insoles provide additional stability and comfort for your foot, because they support the subtalar joint, align the foot, and help prevent overpronation.
You don’t have to worry about too much moisture or friction with Protalus T-100 Elite Insoles as it has a moisture-wicking and friction-reducing top layer. They're also thinner than the M-series, fitting in your shoes more easily.
However, these insoles are best suited for low volume shoes with removable insoles. Therefore, these may not be as effective.
7. URthotics Active/Sports Insoles
URthotics Active/Sports Insoles are custom-made, so even if you don't know your foot arch height or size, these insoles are designed to fit your foot contouring.
Able to fit within your active lifestyle, the custom base and arch support provide stability and motion control, while the deep heel cup helps to relieve pain and overpronation. They are often made with a deep heel cup to align the foot.
URthotics Active/Sports Insoles are expensive when compared to competitors but can be paid for with HSA and FSA insurance.
Missing your favorite game due to injury is disappointing, especially when it's avoidable. While basketball shoes may offer some support, it's not nearly enough to effectively manage the stress from the game on your feet. Adding insoles to your shoes can help limit overpronation, but only if it's the right pair. Custom orthotics tick all the requirements across the board because it's based on your footprint, giving you the best support, while standard, over-the-counter insoles don't take your unique needs into consideration.
» Still unsure about using orthotics? Read more about the benefits of orthotics for basketball players PronationOverpronation vs. Underpronation: Similarities and DifferencesEveryone that walks pronates. Pronation is the normal movement of the foot as we ambulate from place to place and refers to the side-to-side movement of the foot. Sometimes, this normal pattern can be altered, leading to either overpronation or underpronation.
Both overpronation and underpronation place strain on the foot and can lead to significant foot problems if not appropriately managed. In this guide, we explain what these conditions are, the similarities and differences between them, and how to treat over- and underpronation.
What Is Overpronation?
Overpronation refers to the inward turning of the ankles and feet during heel strikes when walking or running. Consequently, the big toe and the second toe push off the ground while the foot twists more with each step. The continuous use of the big toe and second toe for push-off can lead to foot instability. Moreover, the twisting of the foot causes tibial rotation and puts excessive strain on the posterior tibialis tendon, and it may eventually cause shin splints and knee pain.
The causes of overpronation vary. They range from systemic causes to issues associated solely with the ankle and foot complex. Foot overpronation could also be inherited from parents. Regardless of the reason, overpronation develops over a long period. While it may not be a cause of concern initially, without management, it can lead to more debilitating conditions like ligament laxity, rheumatoid arthritis, and shin splints.
Symptoms of overpronation include foot pain, heel pain, unstable ankles, and the development of hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendinitis.
What Is Underpronation?
Also known as excess supination, underpronation causes the outward rolling of the heel and ankles during the heel strike when walking or running. If left unmanaged, underpronation can cause severe pain, injury, and tissue damage in the feet.
Having a high arch, tight tendon, foot or leg injury that alters gait (e.g., hammertoes or fractures), and wearing unsupportive shoes all increase your risk of underpronation. Beyond this, underpronation is caused by plantar fasciitis, shin pain, metatarsalgia, Achilles tendinopathy, ankle sprains, and ankle fractures.
Symptoms of excess supination include arch pain, calluses or bunions on the pinky toes, impaired stability, and falls.
Overpronation vs. Underpronation: What’s the Difference?
Although both overpronation and underpronation involve the movement of the foot when walking, they differ in terms of the direction of the rolling of the foot. While overpronation refers to the inward roll of the ankle as you take a step, underpronation is the outward roll of the ankle.
How to Determine if You Overpronate or Underpronate
You can easily observe if you overpronate or underpronate. Increased wear and tear on the inner side of the sole of your shoe and calluses on the inner side of the big toe, for example, suggest overpronation. In contrast, with underpronation, the outer edge of the sole of your shoe wears faster, and calluses fall along the edge of the small toe.
Furthermore, you can check for overpronation by dipping your feet in water and standing normally on a sheet of cardboard or paper. If your connecting arch has left a print on the paper, you likely have overpronation. If it is not at all visible, you have underpronation.
A medical professional can also help you identify a case of overpronation or underpronation through observation of the arch when standing or a video gait analysis.
» Can orthotics help to relieve my pronation symptoms? Consider investing in pronation custom orthotics to provide support for your feet during your daily activities
Treatments for Overpronation and Underpronation
Once overpronation and underpronation become symptomatic, immediate treatment is needed. Treatments for supination and fixing overpronated feet and ankles aim to relieve symptoms and prevent complications from setting in. The first line of treatment is conservative and involves any of the following methods:
Use of NSAIDs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs help relieve heel pain and any other form of discomfort that may have been caused by the overpronation or underpronation of the foot.Use of custom orthotics
Orthotics for overpronation or underpronation are designed to fit the exact shape of your foot. Upstep orthotics, for example, are designed by certified podiatrists to address your specific foot condition. The custom orthotic provides the support, cushioning, and flexibility required to reduce the strain on the foot and prevent flattening of the arch.Proper footwear
The best footwear for those with either underpronation or overpronation should have a firm heel counter and a wide support base. As to the midsole density, a firmer midsole is helpful for overpronation, while softer midsoles are better for those that underpronate.Physiotherapy
Using a combination of electrotherapy, gait re-education, stretches for supination, and exercises for overpronation, a physiotherapist will work with you to relieve any pain and improve your control over your foot movement.
If these fail, invasive treatment is required as a final option. In these instances, surgery will be done to relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Pronation7 Best Exercises for Overpronated FeetPronation 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.
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 help strengthen the foot arch, and stride, and reduce the loading of the foot associated with overpronation.
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.
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:
NSAIDs and ice: When overpronation results in pain, using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and ice will help relieve the pain.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.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.Bracing and taping: These limit the outward rolling of the foot.Physical therapy: This entails a combination of gait reeducation, TENS to relieve pain, and other modalities depending on the indication of the condition.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.
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. PronationHow to Fix Overpronated AnklesAnkle overpronation, often known as flat feet, is a natural occurrence that occurs when the arches of the foot roll inward or downward while walking. The foot strikes the outside of the heel, then rolls inward (pronates), shifting weight to the inner edge of the foot rather than the ball of the foot. Overpronation can also occur while standing, and pronation refers to the degree that the foot rolls inward toward the arch.
As such, it is easy to check for overpronation by dipping your feet in water and standing normally on a sheet of cardboard or paper. If your connecting arch fills more than half of the width of the impression, there's a good chance you have overpronation.
People who overpronate are more likely to sustain particular injuries and knee, hip, and back pain. This is because it creates more impact when the foot strikes the ground by disrupting the body's normal position. Overpronators, athletes especially, are more prone to overuse injuries.
Causes and Risk Factors of Overpronation
Flat feet and overpronation are often related and influenced by each other. Overpronation occurs when the muscles, ligaments, and plantar fascia (arch) of the foot are strained, overused, or worn down, causing the foot to flatten too much and roll inward as it contacts the ground. Sometimes people with flat feet are born with them. However, certain factors and circumstances might raise a person's risk of developing flat feet or weakened arches, which can contribute to overpronation.
The following are some examples of causal conditions and situations:
PregnancyBeing overweight or obeseParticipating in any activity that requires striking the foot repeatedly on a hard surface for an extended period of time, such as runningWearing incorrect footwear
Can Overpronation Be Cured?
Yes, foot and ankle overpronation is curable. A doctor might suggest a variety of treatments to reduce pain and avoid re-injury. Treatment options for overpronation include the following:
Selecting footwear the supports the archesWearing orthotics or insoles for overpronationExercising to strengthen the arches and the muscles that surround them
People who have been injured by overpronation can take efforts to prevent further damage. The fusion can take up to 12 weeks to properly heal, and no weight should be placed on the foot for at least half of that time. Because of the lengthy immobilization, physical treatment may also be required.
Footwear for Treating and Preventing Overpronation
Things to look for while choosing orthotics or footwear for overpronated feet include:
Overpronation stability shoes
These use a strong midsole motion control system known as a medial post, and sometimes ankle braces, to stabilize the foot and help with overpronation.
Overpronation necessitates the use of specialized cushioning technology. Look for a foam that is both soft and springy while yet being stable.
Shoes with excessive flexibility will exacerbate your foot's natural tendency to roll inward. It's critical that your footwear keeps your feet secure.
Reinforced heel counters
These are a frequent component of stability shoes that provide maximal support for overpronated feet during a long run.
Wear your orthotics for overpronation only two to three times during the day, a few minutes at a time, for the first few days. Remove your orthotics in between wears to give your body a rest, and increase the time you wear them daily.
Exercises for Treating and Preventing Overpronation
A physical therapist is referred to a person with overpronation for strengthening exercises to correct pronation. These exercises for collapsed arches should help strengthen the muscles, help to lower loading forces, and reduce the pain of flat feet:
Your feet should be together when you stand.Engage your calves by rising onto the balls of your feet.Lower down until you feel a stretch in your calveskeep your knees straight but not locked.
Lie down on your back.Wrap a resistance band around your legs, slightly above your knees.Raise your hips and push your knees out further.Maintain outward tension on the band as you return to the starting position.
Begin with your right thigh parallel to the floor in a lunge position.Jump high and switch legs in mid-air, bringing the left leg forward.Land as softly as possible.
Start skipping with your feet together, forcing your right knee up hard to raise you off the ground.Drive your foot back down toward the ground while keeping it flexedRepeat on the other side.
Other Ways to Treat Overpronation
Excessive pronation can be treated conservatively by realigning the foot using a stiff orthotic to realign the subtalar joint. This type of orthotic is typically worn indefinitely.
Another option is surgical reconstruction, though this is difficult and time-consuming. If surgery is required, it may take up to a year to return to your previous state.
When Should You See a Doctor for Overpronation?
A diagnosis can be made by a podiatrist, orthopedic surgeon, or physical therapist. If you are enduring pain or a persistent injury as a result of overpronation, you should visit a specialist, especially after self-correction treatments have failed you. PronationBuyer’s Guide to Finding the Best Insoles for OverpronationPronation and supination are normal patterns of movement in the feet. When they become excessive, the movements give rise to overpronation and underpronation—both of which are significant causes of foot problems.
Overpronation is a foot condition that occurs when the ankle rolls too far inward as you walk, causing more pressure on your big toe and the inside of your foot. While it is not symptomatic initially, overpronation can become problematic if not properly managed. It can lead to shin splints, stress fractures, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, and Achilles tendonitis. There are also a number of secondary conditions associated with flat feet.
Read on to learn how you can use suitable footwear and orthotics for overpronation.
Can Insoles Help With Overpronation?
Insoles help to correct overpronation by limiting the inward roll of your ankles and feet. Supporting your feet from underneath and redistributing the pressure on the foot reduces the excess strain on the ankles.
Insoles also help keep the ankle neutrally aligned so that weight transfer through the ankle to the ground remains optimally efficient. This is particularly helpful in preventing pain in other parts of the kinematic chain.
Choosing the Right Shoes to Support Your Insoles
As effective as insoles are, they won't correct overpronation alone. Choosing the right shoe to support your insole has as much to do with your foot health as the insole. The efficacy of the insole is significantly reduced without the right shoe.
The correct shoe contributes to the restorative action of the insole by keeping the foot neutrally aligned. When deciding on the most suitable shoe to purchase and use with your insoles, look for footwear with the following features:
If the shoe is too flexible, it will encourage the inward roll of your ankle. Shoes with firm midsoles often have limited flexibility and are ideal in this regard.Supportive soles
Shoes with firm arch support will keep the foot in alignment and maintain the integrity of the kinematic chain. This reduces the likelihood of overpronation when moving.Elevated heel
Whether it is a dress shoe or an athletic shoe, a heel height of one to two inches will take the strain off the foot arch and relieve foot pain due to overpronation. Proper cushioning
Soft, stable, but springy insoles provide the best cushioning and are ideal for use in cases of overpronation.Reinforced heel counters
Many stability shoes and motion control shoes have a reinforced heel counter to stabilize and provide maximum support for overpronating feet during motion.Lightweight soles
Shoes with lightweight soles are designed to soften steps, aid foot motion, and reduce strain on the foot joints. In addition, a shock-absorbing outsole enables efficient weight transfer through the foot to the ground. Shoes with straps or laces
Laces and straps make it possible to adjust the upper part of the shoe to fit the foot structure and shape better. This goes a long way in ensuring the even distribution of body weight over the sole of the shoe.
What to Look for in an Insole for Overpronation
As crucial as insoles are in correcting overpronation, not every insole is the best option for overpronating feet. Ideally, the best insoles are custom designed to fit your foot size and structure. This type of insole is referred to as orthotics.
When choosing an insole, look out for those that have arch support, a heel wedge, and a metatarsal bar. The arch support is built into the insole to support the inner foot arch, while the heel wedge is designed as an extra thickness at the heel to limit the forward movement of the heel. The metatarsal bar relieves the pressure on the metatarsal heads.
When you use an insole with the above features, it limits the malalignment of the foot, preventing complications and deformity. It also cushions the foot, preventing pain and other symptoms that can develop as a result of overpronation.
» Ready to treat your pronation? Shop for Upstep's Pronation Custom Orthotics.
Can Proper Footwear Completely Correct Overpronation?
The short answer is no. Proper footwear alone is not enough to correct overpronation. However, they do contribute to the overall treatment and recovery. Footwear works best in conjunction with your insoles to support your foot, prevent the arch from flattening, and give your foot enough room to move around.
When you use the best insoles and footwear for flat feet in treating overpronated ankles in combination with other treatments for flat feet, overpronation will soon become a thing of the past.