Pronation is the natural movement of the foot that occurs during foot landing while running or walking. Everyone pronates to a certain degree when they walk, it’s all normal and there is no wrong answer here. There are three types of pronation: over-pronators (aka flat feet), neutral pronation, and under-pronators (aka supinators).
Let’s start with the most common, over-pronators. If you over-pronate, or over rotate your foot towards the inside of your foot or the arch, you are considered to have flat feet. Flat feet is simply the over-pronation of the foot causing your arch to collapse under the weight of your foot strike. Over-pronation can lead to many issues when it comes to your running such as plantar fasciitis; extreme stress to joints, ligaments and bones; as well as extreme discomfort that can lead to other problems such as shin splints and knee pain. Look for shoes that work well with over-pronators.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are those who under-pronate, also called Supinators. These runners tend to roll their foot outward during foot strike. Like Over-pronation, Under-pronation can lead to injury as well. The most common issues for Supinators are back and hip pain; stress to the knees; ankle injuries; and plantar fasciitis. Look for shoes that work with under-pronators.
Somewhere in the middle is neutral pronation. A Neutral foot strike occurs when you neither over pronate nor supinate. Neutral is where the foot strikes in an effective, efficient manner causing the compression of the foot to balance out the weight being placed on this. This is the ideal foot striking because typically leads to the least amount of injuries while running or walking.
So, you may be reading this and go, “OK that’s great, but how do I know which one I am?”. There are a few simple tests you can do to figure out what type of Pronation you have. Read Part II of this report.