When you take a step, your ankle should roll ever so slightly inward to absorb some of the shock of that step. However, many people's ankles roll too far inward with each step. This is known as overpronation, and while it may not be an issue if you're just walking around for your everyday routine, it does become an issue if you're a runner who is pounding out the miles. Overpronating while you run puts unnecessary strain on the tendons and ligaments throughout your legs and can increase your chances of overuse injuries like IT band syndrome and compartment syndrome. So, you'll want to take these steps to address your overpronation.
Get fitted for running shoes by a professional.
Don't just purchase a pair of running shoes because they look attractive or feel nice. Visit a running store in your area and have your foot and stride analyzed. They will watch you run and measure your foot, and then recommend a shoe with the right amount of support in the right areas to correct for your overpronation. Note that as you become more experienced and fit as a runner, your stride may change. So it's a good idea to be re-analyzed and fitted for shoes every year.
If you have severe overpronation, it might be a good idea to see a podiatrist and have him or her fit you for orthotics. These are pads or shims you can place inside your running shoe to add more support to the inside of your foot. This will help prevent your ankle from rolling so much as you run. Make sure you bring your running shoes with you to the podiatrist's office, as they will need to design your orthotics based on the type of shoe you wear.
Do your strength training.
If you overpronate moderately to severely, you're probably always going to overpronate to some degree. But you can decrease your overpronation somewhat and also guard against injuries by keeping the muscles in your legs strong. So don't skip those strength training workouts! A few days a week after your runs, spend just 15 or 20 minutes doing some basic exercises like squats and lunges. Do high knees and butt kicks to strengthen your glutes and hamstrings. If you're not sure where to start with strength training, look up some "strength training for runners" videos and just follow along.
Overpronation does not have to leave you sidelined with injuries. Wear the right shoes, consider orthotics, and keep your legs strong. Many an overpronating runner has stayed fast and injury-free with these tactics. For more information, contact local professionals like Advanced Foot & Ankle Centers of Illinois.