Have you ever wondered why you pronate when you walk or run? The truth is pronation is just as crucial for your wellbeing, especially when healthy feet and ankles are concerned. The way you move around on your feet is dependent mainly on the kind of pronation you have. While there are different types of pronation, it is crucial you know the kind of pronation you have because this will help you generally in anything that concerns your feet. For this reason, we have compiled this article to make you understand pronation so that you can know where you belong. Let’s dive in!
[QUESTION](What is Pronation?)
Before we jump into the complicated part, let us establish the fact of what pronation means. Simply put; pronation is the natural motion your feet make when you walk or run. It is the way your foot rolls inward for impact and weight distribution. This natural motion varies from person to person – we will get to this part later!
The essence of pronation is shock absorption when the body’s weight lands on the feet. When the foot strikes the ground; there is an inward roll that ensures the shock is absorbed. During this inward roll, the arch of the feet will, therefore support the body’s weight.
With this being said, it is now germane you realize the types of pronation present. Continue reading to find out!
[QUESTION](What are the Types of pronation?)
Without further ado, here are the three types of pronation.
Normal Pronation / Neutral
When the feet land on the outside of the heel, it rolls inward to absorb shock and support body weight in neutral pronation. Here are the characteristics of normal pronation
- The toes help in push-off. However, the big toe and second play the most roles, the others help in stabilizing the feet during movement
- At push-off the sole always face the rear of the body and does not appear tilted. The sole either face inward or outward
- The arch flattens to cushion the shock when the heel strikes the ground
- The feet often roll outward for a neutral gait
- The arch rises and stiffens as the foot rolls upwards and outward to provide Stability
- Your weight shifts to the outside of your foot and then back to the big toe
Overpronation is an abnormal gait whereby the ankle rolls too inward and downward during a walk. Instead of the toes should start with the push-off, the ankle continues to roll. The big and second toe are majorly faced with the problem of doing the push-off.
Flat and very flexible feet are the cause of Overpronation. At times, people with flat feet do overpronate. Likewise, some people are born like that. Furthermore, some conditions can weaken the arches and make you overpronate. Such conditions include pregnancy, being overweight and participating in high impact sports activities.
Other Causes of Overpronation
- Wear and Tear
Wear and Tear occur when there is strain, overuse and wear on the muscles, resulting in flat foot. The foot will begin to roll down as it strikes the ground causing Overpronation.
- Unfit footwear and bad shoes
Wearing unfit footwaer for instance wearing high heels for a longer period shift the weight on the arch of the feet which later weaken it and could result in Overpronation. Also, bad shoes without the necessary arch support can lead to Overpronation.
- Plantar Fasciitis and heel pronation
Problems of the foot can cause plantar fasciitis which also weakens the arch and ultimately result in Overpronation.
Symptoms of Overpronation
- Pain in the arch of the foot and heel
- Instability when walking
- The foot tends to turn outward when walking leading to foot, heel, knees, back and hips pain
- Inner edge of the shoe sole might begin to wear, likewise the toe box and heel
Supination / Underpronation
Supination occurs when the foot does not pronate well at the initial step. During this process, the foot will supinate during the toe-off phase, when the impact point first lifts off the ground. In all entirety, the work will be transferred to the foot’s external edge and the small toes placing extra stress on the foot.
Supination is seen all frequently in individuals with high, inflexible curves that don’t straighten enough during a step.
Causes of Supination
- Rigid arch
Rigid arch causes the foot to lack mobility required to post through the balls of the big toe. In most cases, this can lead to metatarsal stress fractures. Pain in the hip, back, the knee could result from a metatarsal stress fracture. Metatarsal can also strain muscle and ligaments.
Symptoms of supination
- Shoes tend to shape towards one side
This sign becomes obvious as a result of the heel hitting the ground first. The foot doesn’t roll inward after landing, so the impact is majorly concentrated on that side of the foot. You can check this out by placing your running shoe on a levelled surface; if they lean outwardly, you have supination.
- Occurrence of Bone fracture and sprain
Due to the outward shift of weight on the feet, the metatarsals especially the fourth and fifth toes that do the most work during push-off can become fractured
- Tightness of calf muscles and ankles
When the Achilles tendon often tightens, then it might be a sign of supination.
Also read: What Causes calf muscles to Tighten up When Walking on Concrete? .
[QUESTION](Can it be Corrected?)
Overpronation and supination can be naturally corrected. Below are ways to correct them
- Posture form should be improved by
- Endeavour to make contact and firm grip with the ground from the outside
- Land closer to the midfoot
- Stretch the legs often
You can stretch the legs by
- Calf raises
- toe touches
- Ankle rolling while laying your back down
- Wear the right shoes
- Do well to visit a therapist
- Stretch out the tight muscles
You can stretch your calves and other muscles by
- Foam rolling
- Ankle rolls
- Shoes must not be worn out
Wear lightweight sneakers and shoes that have flexible inner edges
Pronation is a natural mechanism for the feet to move by transferring the heel’s weight and pressure to the forefoot. The feet should optimally roll inward from the outside. However, abnormalities can occur as clearly seen in the article. We would recommend you diagnose your stride pattern to know the kind of pronation you have. You can see a podiatrist, check your shoe tilt and wear pattern. Once you know your pronation, you can begin to correct it gradually. Also, if you need treatment, there are some conventional treatment as well.