Pronation: What is it?

Pronation is a term commonly used in the running world. It is the inward rolling of the feet after the heel strikes the ground. While it is normal to pronate, the degree of pronation for every runner varies. This depends on whether a runner has flat feet, high arched feet or normal arched feet.

Tips to choose the best running shoes will help you choose the best running shoes for your feet.

Pronation is necessary for shock absorption. It also prepares the foot for proper take-off. In some cases, pronation may require you to use custom orthotics.

Pronation can be classified into three types depending on the degree of pronation that occurs while you run.

  • Normal pronation
  • Overpronation
  • Underpronation
Each of these terms is explained in detail below.

Normal pronation

Normal pronators have normal arches. Initially, after the heel strikes the ground, the foot rolls inwards very slightly - definition of pronation. When the foot comes in complete contact with the ground, it optimally distributes the forces of impact and supports the body weight.

Since normal pronators push off evenly from the front of the foot, the shoes for normal pronators show even wear on the shoe.

Overpronation

Overpronation is common in runners with low arches or flat feet. Initially, after the heel strikes the ground, the foot rolls inwards more than ideally. This excess inward rolling of the foot is referred to as overpronation. Due to the excess rolling of the foot, the forces of impact are not distributed ideally. This causes inefficient shock absorption and difficulty in making the body stable.

Overpronators push off using the big toe and second toe of the foot. Hence, the shoes for overpronators have more wear on the inside of the shoe i.e. near the big toe side.

Underpronation

This is common in runners with high arches and also referred to as supination. Initially, after the heel strikes the ground, the foot rolls inwards less than ideally. This less than ideal inward rolling of the foot is referred to as underpronation. The insufficient rolling of the foot leads to inefficient shock absorption since the forces of impact are concentrated on the outside part of the foot.

Underpronators push off from the outside of the foot and use the smaller toes at the end. Hence, the shoes for underpronators have more wear on the outside i.e. near the smallest toe.

Pronation is one of the factors used in selecting a good running shoe. Check this site for more information on selecting best running shoes and trail running shoes for trail running.

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