The human feet are crucial for giving the body a proper foundation. This is why understanding pronation and the ways to cope with the different problems in the feet is essential for keeping a proper balance, and allows for better functioning, walking, running, and curbing the muscle and joint pains or possible injuries, which often occur when there is a misalignment or poor functioning of the feet.
Pronation, which is also sometimes referred to as eversion is the foot’s inward roll during running or walking. Also, pronation can be viewed as the way in which the prominence in the inner ankle (medial malleolus) pushes off at each step or gait while walking or running.
Lots of people suffer from either supination or overpronation and yet are not aware of the seriousness of these conditions, and thus take no steps to help resolving them and reducing the risks of negative consequences resulting from them.
Neutral pronation is when the feet and the ankles remain in a straight line while walking or running, which allows for the even distribution of the weight on the feet and toes. The proper alignment also leads to better natural shock absorption, and reduces the risk of pain in the feet and legs, as well as other problems which can occur in cases of excessive overpronation or supination. It is a fact that every person has a certain level of pronation, but the problem can become serious if it is severe. There are common cases, in which one of the feet has a neutral gait and the other has mild or excessive underpronation or overpronation.
Overall, having a neutral pronation can help reduce possible ankle, knee and hip strains as well as the risk of injuries which are more commonly associated with having a misalignment of the feet.
But even if you have a neutral gait, you must know that with aging and weight gain, high level activities as well as different traumas later in life can change your pronation at some point. This is why, getting the proper shoes for work, running, walking or everyday use depending on your pronation type is very important in order to ensure you get the proper support, shock absorption and to stay healthy.
Overpronation is the condition when the arch of the foot rolls in an inward direction while walking and running, causing the weight of the body to be distributed unevenly. It is the most popular problem with foot misalignment.
In cases of severe overpronation, the ankles will stay inward even when a person is just standing.
Overpronation can occur in all people, no matter whether they have high arches or flat foot arches. The easiest way to find out whether you are an overpronator is to look for excessive wearing out of the inner sides of your shoes. Of course, you can get a professional diagnosis by a medical expert or at certain large footwear stores.
It is imperative to know whether you are suffering from mild to severe overpronation, because left untreated it can cause serious health problems such as: plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon problems, problems and pain in the metatarsal bones and pain or bursitis in the hips.
The best way to cope with overpronation is to get good quality orthotics to help balance the stance and reduce the negative side effects.
Supination is the opposite of overpronation, and occurs when there is not enough of an “inward roll” when the foot touches the ground. This causes the weight of the body to be transferred to the smaller toes and not at all to the big toe, which means that the outside of the foot and the smaller toes have to handle the stress and carry most of the weight instead and the reduction of the natural capability of the human body to absorb the shock from the impact of the foot to the ground while walking or running, and thus may be the cause of serious pain and injuries.
While both overpronation and supination occur when a person walks or stands, they are more noticeable and the negative effects caused by them are amplified while running.
The cases of people with excessive supination are much rarer than those with overpronation, but can occur later in life, especially following a trauma or overwork of the ankles. Again, it doesn’t matter whether a person has high or low arches, this condition can occur in both cases.
A great way to find out whether you are an underpronator is to watch for excessive wear on the outsides of your shoes, but of course getting a professional assessment is recommended. The best way to treat underpronation are high quality orthotics or specialized footwear to help keep the foot aligned with the ankle and improve the shock absorption as well as the stability of the ankles at all times.
Now, after you know how your feet roll, the only thing you need is to pick the most suitable running shoes for your feet and running style. Head over to http://comforthacks.com for our best tips how and when to buy shoes and drill down the categories to pick the best pair for you!
- Physics of Running Shoes, Joseph De Walde, 2009 http://ffden-2.phys.uaf.edu/211_spring2009.web/Joseph_DeWilde/pronation.html
- Influence of heel flare and midsole construction on pronation, supination and impact forces for heel toe running, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SPORT BIOMECHANICS http://journals.humankinetics.com/AcuCustom/Sitename/Documents/DocumentItem/10589.pdf
- Exercise Physiology Monitoring and Modeling, http://www.andes.ucmerced.edu/research/biometrics.html
- Understand pronation to find the right shoes, ASICShttp://www.asics.co.uk/sports/running/preparation/understanding-pronation-find-the-right-shoes-for-you