What is Pronation?

running in a marathon

Running is deemed as one of the best and most accessible forms of exercise. But sometimes, running can cause more harm than good for our bodies due to many reasons. One of the reasons why running can be harmful is that some of us may have feet that are unable to properly absorb shock from the ground due to awkward running forms.

Most of us may run quite normal, but a few would experience problems with their running form mainly because their feet would often awkwardly land inwards on the ground, which is a sign that the feet don’t distribute shock evenly. To understand why this movement happens, let us first take a look at one of the natural ways our body absorbs shock, and that is pronation.

Understanding Pronation

Pronation is a movement in our feet that naturally occurs when we walk or run. This movement appears as an inward motion, and the inner bottom parts of our feet are usually the ones that land first, followed by the other bottom parts, to properly distribute the floor or the ground’s force of impact once our feet touch it.

Because of pronation, our feet developed bigger first toes to handle the impact better, but it will not be able to absorb shock correctly if the angle of pronation is more than four degrees. If there is exaggerated pronation, then our ankle will suffer as the shock doesn’t spread evenly. Too much inward motion in our feet is called overpronation, and this movement has a number of negative effects on our bodies.

Overpronation

If you’re experiencing overpronation, your feet would often put too much pressure on the big toe and the side where it is located, making an uneven spread of impact to the ground that your smallest toes are not even able to land correctly on the ground sometimes when you run.

One way for you to know if you overpronate is to check the outsoles of your shoes. If the outsoles are showing more signs of wear on the side where your biggest toe is, then that may be a sign that you have overpronation. You will also notice that you overpronate if your shoe is tilting inwards due to excessive wear on the inner sides of your feet.

There are several reasons why some of us overpronate, and one of the most common reasons is because of flat feet. A flat foot is a deformity wherein there are no arches in the said body part. Without arches, the inner sides of our feet will fully absorb the impact of the ground, causing pain not only on that specific side of the feet but also on our ankles.

Some researchers suggest that shoes may be one cause for overpronation. Humans have once walked or ran without wearing any shoes, and adding footwear to our feet may sometimes feel unnatural because of how particular shoes are designed. For example, walking with high heels is not a natural way for us to move around since the impact is just absorbed by the toes, and the other parts like the arch and the heel are not experiencing the impact of the ground fully.

Because of overpronation, those suffering from it may experience even more severe and painful complications in their feet, such as bunions, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis.

The problems that arise from overpronating is devastating, and that is why it is recommended that you go to a medical expert immediately so he or she can suggest the right actions to do to alleviate the symptoms of overpronation or to decrease the inward rolling of your feet.

Treatmentsfor Overpronation

The most common way used by people with overpronation to treat the condition is by wearing “stability shoes,” which is a type of footwear that forces the foot to retain a natural motion while running. Also called motion control shoes, the footwear limits your feet’s excessive inward rolls by having specially designed midsoles to correct the landing of your feet whenever they touch the ground.

By wearing stability shoes, you will be able to prevent the overpronation of your feet from worsening so you won’t experience pain or injuries during your run.

You can also add supportive orthotics to your stability shoes. These insoles are designed to promote neutral pronation, and with the combination of proper shoes and shoe inserts, your overpronation may eventually be fully corrected.

Another excellent way to reduce overpronation besides having stability shoes is by not wearing any shoe at all. Barefoot running is said to decrease excessive pronation as our feet are performing natural movements without being hindered by footwear.

Also, most of the shoes available today have different weights that are not equally distributed, and they tend to be heavier on the heel part than on the front. Because of their uneven weight distribution, most shoes cause a person to land on their heels when walking or running instead of the natural movement where the forefoot must land first. This unnatural landing is called a heel strike, and it causes too much pressure on the heels and the ankles that leads to serious injuries.

Vibram Men's Treksport 5f / M4485cb Rubber Trainer

This is why barefoot running is becoming more popular nowadays, as it is proven through numerous studies that running without shoes can promote natural foot movement, which can prevent overpronation from happening.

However, one obvious downside to walking barefoot is that it won’t have any means of protection against the outside elements. To solve this problem, there are several “minimalist shoes” available in the market that allows the foot to naturally move while protecting it against dust or debris. One of these minimalist shoes is the VibramFiveFingers, which looks liketoe socks but is much more rigid and durable.

Overpronation won’t be a big problem for some people thanks to several innovations in orthopedics and shoe design. Before buying any items for reducing overpronation, consult a doctor first to see if he or she can recommend the products for you.