Pronation Pronation is the word used to describe a normal motion that we all have in our feet. Pronation occurs in the rearfoot when we land with walking or running and is essentially our built in shock absorber. The foot during pronation tends to lean inward towards the big toe side and sometimes itís associated with the arch dropping or falling. The opposite motion is called supination. This is when the arch heightens and the foot leans outward. Too much pronation is typically not good for our feet, legs and even back. Some people refer to over-pronation as flat feet.
Each foot has 26 bones and is designed to be somewhat rigid during push off. This rigid lever is what helps us move forward in our gait cycle with less effort. When the foot over-pronates the 26 bones essentially become ďun-lockedĒ and the foot becomes too flexible which makes it harder to push off. If the foot over-pronates or is too flexible our muscles, tendons and ligaments have to work harder to stabilize the foot and help us propulse forward. Overuse of these soft tissues is what then causes injury and pain. I always tell my patients that an over-pronated foot and flatfeet is comparable to walking in dry soft sand on the beach as opposed to walking on compact wet sand. Itís much easier on the entire body to walk on firm wet sand.
People with over-pronated feet tend to benefit from more supportive types of shoes. The shoe can, in a sense, provide some of the stability that is needed during push off. Many shoes are actually made with the three types of feet in mind. Over-pronated, neutral and supinated. The over-supinated foot needs less stability but more shock absorption and the over-pronated foot needs more stability and rigidity within the materials of the shoe.
If you are unsure which type of foot you have or which would be the best type of shoe for your feet visit your local podiatrist.
Written by Jeffrey S. Hurless, DPM
DPM, FACFAS Board Certified Foot & Ankle Surgeon/Podiatrist
Medical Director, HealthyFeetStore.com