Easy Guide to Understanding Pronation

3 min read

If you are a runner or even if you just have foot problems, you have probably heard the term “pronation.”  You are probably wondering what, exactly, that means.  Pronation, quite simply, refers to the way that you walk; specifically, the inward roll of your foot when you are walking or running.

It is a measure of how your foot pushes off of the ground at the end of each step that you take.  Some people, especially runners, find it helpful to identify their style of pronation because they can choose shoes that are specifically targeted for that type of pronation.

Types of Pronation

There are three types of pronation: neutral pronation, overpronation, and underpronation (also known as supination).

Neutral pronation means that the body is exhibiting a normal amount of pronation and the weight of the body is being distributed fairly evenly across the toes.  There is slightly more weight placed on the big toe and second toe, which is normal and healthy.  A person who exhibits neutral pronation does not overpronate or underpronate; they have the healthiest type of pronation for their feet.

Overpronation means that when a person takes a step, they push off from the ground by placing almost all of their body weight on the big toe and second toe.  This causes the foot to roll inward.  The foot cannot absorb shock evenly, and the ankle becomes unstable.  An unnatural angle is created between the foot and the ankle.

Underpronation, or supination, means that when the foot hits the ground, the foot does not roll inward as much as it should.  Instead of the big toe bearing more of the body’s weight as it should, the body’s weight is shifted to the smaller toes and the outside of the foot.  These areas of the foot are not designed to absorb this much shock.

Causes of Overpronation

A single cause of overpronation has not been identified, but researchers believe it may be caused by anatomical factors such as leg length discrepancy, arch height, or muscle weakness.  Environmental factors can also affect pronation.  The type of shoe that a person wears can distinctly affect pronation.

The effects of overpronation can extend to the legs and knees.  Overpronation is commonly associated with shin splints and knee pain.

Treatment for Overpronation

There are several modifications that can be made to deal with overpronation.  One of the most popular ways to cope with overpronation is to wear orthotic devices in the shoes.  The large majority of runners who use orthotic devices to correct their pronation find that their pain is relieved and they are able to continue in their activities.

Certain types of shoes are also better for particular types of pronation.  Motion control and stability shoes help to reduce the amount of force that is placed on the inside of the foot when a person is running.  This also helps to make the foot, ankle, and leg more stable.

Some runners also find that taping their feet and legs or lacing their shoes in a particular manner helps to correct their pronation.  There are many different lacing patterns that you can try to find a style that best suits you.

If you overpronate or supinate, stop by Foot Solutions UK.  We can help you to identify your style of pronation and find the shoes that will best suit you.  We can also provide you with shoe inserts or order custom orthotic devices (customised arch supports).  These minor adjustments can greatly improve your comfort level so that you can continue your activities and be pain-free. Visit Foot Solutions UK today.