Over-Pronation and Arch Support: Some Foot Mechanics Explained
Growing up I always knew that I had flat feet. In high school I had little to no knowledge on how to properly run or what shoes to wear for my feet. I ended up getting an ankle sprain during track and field due to incorrect running techniques, the wrong shoes and over- pronation.
My parents took me to a foot specialist and spent $400 on customized foot orthopedic inserts. Unfortunately I ended up losing these inserts! I spent years not paying attention to my feet or posture until I got in my mid and upper twenties. I finally started paying attention after I bought a cheap pair of running shoes that felt like they were destroying my feet!
So, What is over-pronation versus under pronation (supination) ?
There is supination and pronation, supination is the opposite of pronation and is when the foot rolls outward when a person is walking. Over pronation is when a foot rolls inward when a person is walking. Neither of these positions is healthy/ natural for a person. A person needs arch support when they walk and run.
Also Supination is the lack of an inward roll or a rolling out of the foot during walking or running. This motion, or lack of motion, inhibits the foots ability absorb shock. Also supination is referred to as under-pronation, a foot that supinates needs a soft ride (shoes with a lot of cushion) and quick heel-to-toe transition.
As you can see from the visuals above these are examples of overpronation and supination.
Lintonbon (2017) discusses pronation and supination in “Pathomechanics of the Foot”. The foot can be simplified into a structure that has two tasks: mobility (pronation) and stability (supination). The foot has to have adequate mobility in order to adapt to different ground surfaces and for shock absorption.
When the foot fails to do these tasks because of over pronation or dysfunctional supination it causes great dysfunction and problems throughout the body. Also over-pronation, or flat feet, is a common biomechanical problem that occurs in the walking process when a person’s arch collapses upon weight bearing. This can cause sever inflammation and discomfort.
So What Kind of Shoes Do You Recommend?
Let me just start off by saying that I am not a doctor or specialist in any capacity when it comes to feet or orthopedics. I am just sharing with you what I have learned and done research on. I can tell you that I have flat feet, over pronation, and I can tell you what I have done (as far as buying shoes with arch support) that work for me.
Recently I got a pass to the Adidas employee store and I was taken through a complete run down of the women’s running shoes isle. I told the employees (who are trained in finding the best shoe for a person’s foot) how my feet are. They recommended that I DO NOT get a shoe with too much arch support if my feet are flat (over pronated).
What I Bought for My Flat Feet
When you have flat feet and you are a runner it can hurt your soles to have a ultra boost like the shoe pictured below:
If you already have arches then I recommend you to get the ultra boost if you want that extra arch support.
The employee recommended me to get the super boost without all of that arch support like the one pictured below: (The shoes below are actually the shoes I bought that day)
When it comes to have supination, or a foot that rolls outward during walking and running I would aim for a stiffer shoe. The one pictures above is made of fabric with the middle part being customizable to fit a person’s shoe needs while running (that have flat feet).
This is an image I have used before but look at how the body of the shoes are hard and not made of any kind of fabric that companies like Adidas makes for certain shoes. When shopping for shoes for a foot that rolls outward you want that stiffness to support your feet and ankles.
I hope that this article helped you with all of you supination and pronation questions. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them below or if you have any advice from your own experiences!
Lintonbon, D. (2017). Pathomechanics of the Foot. Podiatry Review, 74(4), 10-11.