Understanding Pronation and Its Problems
There’s a vibrant running community in and around the Coachella Valley—and it will be picking up again soon with milder fall and winter temperatures just around the corner. If you’ve spent any time running or around runners, you might have heard the term “pronation” tossed around quite a bit, perhaps in a negative context. The truth is that pronation is a normal and healthy part of your walking and running gait, but excessive over- or underpronation can cause problems with biomechanical alignment and even increase your injury risk.
Under “normal” circumstances, the first part of your foot to strike the ground when you take a step is the outside of your heel. After that, the foot rolls inward and the arch flexes to cushion the impact and support your weight. This rolling action is pronation, and under ideal circumstances the roll is about 15 percent—just enough so that, when you push off, you do so evenly at the middle-front of your foot.
Pronation problems occur when the foot roll is too much or too little, which pulls your whole lower body out of alignment and places uneven stress on your sole. Too much roll, or overpronation, is by far the most common problem. It shifts the weight to the inside, pointing the toes outward and forcing your big toe to do all the work at push-off. Less common (though not necessarily is rare) is underpronation or supination, in which the foot doesn’t roll enough, forcing the outer toes to handle push-off.
The effects can be striking. Although both conditions can lead to general pain and discomfort from feet to lower back due to faulty alignment, excessive overpronaters tend to struggle with inflammation and pain from conditions like plantar fasciitis, while the relatively inflexible arches of supinators increase impact loads, potentially leading to injuries such as stress fractures or shin splints.
The good news is that healthy walking and running can be achieved by those of all pronation styles—you may just need a little help from Dr. Danciger to keep you on the straight and narrow. Whether it’s laser therapy for swelling pain, a custom orthotic to improve joint alignment, tips on finding the right shoe, or other strategies, our office can help you overcome your pronation challenges. To request an appointment, use our online contact form or call us at 760-568-0108.