If after running your feet hurt more than expected and in a particular area or the outsoles of your shoes may have worn down on a specific side it is possible that you may be feeling the result of non-neutral pronation. When your body comes into contact with the ground on trails it is responsive through pronation by flexing, absorbing impacts and giving balance for each footstrike, however if it is either over or under pronation that occurs generally it causes pain in the foot and can lead to further muscle problems as the rest of you tries to compensate for it. In order to avoid long term injury there are ways to correct pronation even with something as simple as finding the right pair of running shoes for your feet.
Recognising Pronation & Solutions
If you think over pronation or supination (under pronation) is causing you problems and aren’t sure exactly which running shoes to choose to help correct it then this guide will clarify the signs and characteristics to look for in the condition and right pair of footwear to help you.
Around a third of all runners have neutral pronation which is the least likely to result in any problems long or short term. Look out for equal wear all across the heel of your running shoes and roughly a standard height in the foot arch which is caused by a footstrike landing on the heels with a slight inward roll and even weight distribution amongst each toe and when pushing off the toes are primarily used for healthy movement. You should find that a standard pair of cushioned shoes will be suitable for your feet.
There are a number of reasons that can cause over-pronation but a single underlying one has yet to be determined; if your big toe and possibly second toe are used to push off it means that the body struggles to stabilise and balance correctly and the inside of the feet takes the brunt of each impact which can lead to injury to the lower leg and knees. Your outsoles will be more worn on the inside of each heel and under the big toes so you will need specialist Orthotic shoes or even look at Barefoot Running Shoes which encourages a heel strike due to the added weight in the heel cushioning.
Supination (Under Pronation)
Under Pronation or Supination as it is better known happens when the foot strikes the ground with very little inward roll so that any shock is absorbed by the outside of the feet and the smaller toes which can’t handle it thus leading to stress and injury in the feet, ankles, hips and knees. The sign of this on your footwear is wear predominantly on the outer side of the heels. For this ideally a running shoe with neutral cushioning is needed as it will more effectively encourage natural flex and movement and help correct it.
Things to look out for
Finding the right type of running shoes as mentioned above is essential for helping to ease problems with pronation and if you do have and of those issues when running initially you should seek medical advice to determine which type of pronation you may have in case of other underlying problems before searching for the footwear best suited to the condition. Bear in mind that any amount of running will cause fatigue and result in aches, pains and can lead to strain which is a natural aspect to it but if any pains do last long term and cause further strain getting them checked is crucial. There are a number of brands that produce technical running trainers that will offer the kinds of support needed for the different types of pronation such as Salomon, On Running, New Balance, Mizuno, Asics, Under Armour and others while companies like Vibram and Vivo specialise in Barefoot Shoes should you need those.
Barefoot running can be very beneficial with pronation as it allows the feet to react more with the varied terrain underfoot and lets the muscles and foot flex naturally and can help to give you better posture and overall improved running experience.