What is pronation?
Pronation is a natural motion of your foot during walking and running and simply the degree to which the arch of your foot collapses upon impact.
As your foot contacts the ground when you run and moves toward push off, the arch of your foot naturally collapses to help your body absorb the shock of impact. This action of your arch collapsing is called pronation. Those who have arches that collapse relatively little are said to supinate, while those whose arches collapse excessively are said to overpronate.
In overpronation, the ankle rolls too far downward and inward with each step. It continues to roll when the toes should be starting to push off. As a result, the big toe and second toe do all of the push-off and the foot twists more with each step. Overpronation is seen more often in people with flat feet, although not everyone with flat feet overpronates.
Overpronation can lead to strain on the big toe and second toe and instability in the foot. The excessive rotation of the foot leads to more rotation of the tibia in the lower leg, with the result being a greater incidence of shin splints (also called medial tibial stress syndrome) and knee pain.1 Overpronation can also lead to excessive strain on the posterior tibialis tendon, causing shin splints and posterior tibialis tendon dysfunction in older adults
Supination is a rolling motion to the outside edge of the foot during a step. The foot naturally supinates during the toe-off stage of your stride as the heel first lifts off the ground, providing leverage to help roll off the toes. However, with supination, the foot does not pronate enough at the toe-off stage. This results in all of the work being done by the outer edge of the foot and smaller toes, placing extra stress of the foot. Supination is seen more often in people with high, rigid arches that don’t flatten enough during a stride.
How can I tell if I over/underpronate?
The simplest way to see if to check your shoe wear pattern. Look at the soles of your current walking or running shoes.
Overpronators will see more wear on the inner side of the heel and forefoot.
Supinators will see more wear on the outside edge of the shoe.
In depth analysis
A foot analysis is a process where you stand on a pressure mapping device that that allows the operator to gain a deeper understanding of the structure of the foot and its function. Combined with verbal information from the customer about their foot discomfort and/or specific needs and the visual analysis, this gives the pedorthist information about any abnormal function, while also giving the pedorthist a better insight into the footwear needs of the customer. Sunnywell Orthotics, we conduct these in depth gait analysis on all our customers before providing a solution to ensure we full understand your body.
- Choose your shoes carefully. Replace any worn out shoes. The shoes you wear while exercising should provide adequate cushioning for your heel and should have a firm arch support to help reduce the tension in the Achilles tendon. At Sunnywell we have a wide variety of shoes tailored to provide the utmost comfort.
- Physical therapy. A physical therapist can do a video analysis of how you run to help you improve your form and technique.