Have you ever thought about how you walk? Most of us, especially those that aren’t runners, never think about the pronation of our feet, and how our gait affects our body. However, if you want to avoid injury and get serious about running effectively, you’ll need to ensure your pronation is corrected with shoes or orthotics.
To be clear: everyone pronates. Pronation is a term that encompasses the natural movement of the feet hitting the ground when we’re running or walking. Doctors, podiatrists, and physical therapists all advocate for neutral pronation, which is where all our toes hit the ground simultaneously, and all weight is distributed evenly.
Despite this being ideal, it’s rare for someone to naturally have neutral pronation. If left untreated, overpronation can lead to a variety of painful chronic ailments.
Today, we’ll explore overpronation in-depth, and explain some popular treatment options including orthotics and shoe inserts for pronation correction.
The Biomechanics of Overpronation
Overpronation occurs when the foot hits the ground and rolls inward instead of landing neutrally. An overpronated foot tends to place much more weight on the big toe and second toe, as the outer edge of the heel hits the ground first. This creates an unnatural angle in the foot which can cause instability.
As the heel strikes and the toes go down, the arch of the foot flattens and stretches out in a way that puts a greater strain on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the foot. This strain and the instability of the foot position is what causes a higher-than-average rate of injury for people who overpronate.
How Do I Know If I Overpronate?
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a physical therapist or podiatrist to get a sense of whether your gait is putting your physical health at risk. There are a few different ways you can monitor yourself for overpronation at home.
The easiest way to identify overpronation when walking or running is to look at a pair of your shoes. Preferably one that you’ve worn many times before. Look at the bottom of your shoes, and see where they’re worn down. If most of the wear is on the interior edge, near your big toe and the ball of your foot, you’re probably an overpronator.
If you don’t have a worn pair of shoes handy, you can ask a friend or loved one to take a quick snap of your lower legs when you’re standing neutrally. Take a close look at the photo, and see whether the line of your shin is truly straight from knee to ankle. If it slants inwards towards the inside of your foot, you may be overpronating.
How Overpronation Affects Your Long Term Health
Even though you may not notice your overpronation on a day-to-day basis, it can have serious long-term health implications. Our foot and ankle pronation affects our whole body, and the increased strain can radiate outwards, causing knee, hip, and back pain.
Overpronation can also cause:
- ankle sprains
- shin splints
- Achilles tendinitis
- heel spurs
- plantar fasciitis
One study found that running with overpronated feet can also contribute to increased fatigue, as more strain is put on our muscles, tendons, and ligaments with these inefficient movements.
Treatments for Overpronation
If you find that you’re experiencing heel or arch pain regularly, or develop other symptoms including hammertoes, corns, or calluses, you should consider consulting a doctor or podiatrist. They can evaluate the severity of your overpronation, and recommend some options for treatment.
Doing certain stretches regularly can help alleviate some of the strain associated with overpronation. Stretching your calves and the insides of your shins and feet will help loosen up these muscles and strengthen your arches. This helps relieve pain and discomfort and can help retrain your feet to walk in neutral pronation.
Shoes that help with the pronation of your foot are helpful tools for encouraging a better gait. The best shoes for pronation provide plenty of support and stability and help protect the foot from pronation-related injuries. In the running world, these shoes are often known as stability shoes.
The Best Shoes and Orthotics for Severe Overpronation
In addition to choosing shoes with stability and support in mind, you can also purchase a pair of custom orthotics that are designed to modify an existing shoe to provide the support that’s personalized for your feet.
Fixing foot and ankle pronation with shoes is doable, but you’ll likely have better results when you’re using an orthotic that’s been custom-made for your foot.
Plus, our left and right feet often don’t pronate the same way. When you purchase a pair of orthotics to help with overpronation, each is designed to provide the perfect amount of support to each foot.
Here are some of our expert’s recommendations for shoes and orthotics that can help correct overpronation.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19 is a great choice for overpronators. This shoe is made with Brooks’ GuideRail support system, which runs along the side of the foot and helps keep excess motion in check. Think of these GuideRails like bumpers on a bowling alley – they help keep the foot from going too far to either side.
This is a great everyday running shoe, and can even be used on longer runs.
Saucony Hurricane 22
Saucony’s Hurricane 22 is available for both men and women and comes with a ton of supportive cushioning that’s now 25% lighter than the last shoe in their Hurricane line.
The type of cushioning they’ve used is great because it never gets compacted, no matter how far you go. Once you’ve tried their FORMFIT interior, you’ll never go back to any other type of running shoe. It hugs the foot from every angle and holds it steady to limit strain and overwork associated with overpronation.
Asics GT-2000 8
With a sophisticated gel cushioning system throughout, the Asics GT-2000 8 offers plenty of light support that helps protect against the worst effects of overpronation. This light cushioning also helps keep the stride energized.
With the soft landing from the foam and gel soles and the breezy mesh upper, this shoe can help you run faster and farther than ever before.
The best orthotics for pronation are custom made and provide personalized support where you need it most. Since they’re built to fit the unique shape of your foot, multiple issues like flat arches, overpronation, and bunions can be taken into account.
You can purchase our custom sport orthotics on their own, or buy them along with a pair of shoes for a truly personalized package. Once they’re inserted into the shoes of your choice, our custom orthotics provide stability as well as shock absorption and conform to the arches of your feet to discourage overpronation.
The Best Custom Orthotics and Shoe Inserts for Pronation Correction
Don’t resign yourself to living life with uncomfortable, painful foot issues caused by overpronation. With a new pair of shoes or some custom orthotics, it’s easy to protect your feet from the long-term effects of overpronation.
Start here to find a package that fits the unique needs of your feet.