Pronation refers to the inward roll of the foot during normal motion. It occurs as the outer edge of the heel strikes the ground when the foot rolls inward and flattens out. A moderate amount of pronation is required for the foot to function properly, however damage and injury can occur during excessive pronation. When excessive pronation does occur, the foot arch flattens out and stretches the muscles, tendons and ligaments underneath the foot.
The picture on the right shows a view of the right foot as if looking at it from behind. As you can see in the picture, the ankle is over pronating or rolling inward.
Supination is the opposite of pronation. It refers to the outward roll of the foot during normal motion. A natural amount of supination occurs during the push-off phase of the running gait, as the heel lifts off the ground and the forefoot and toes are used to propel the body forward. However, excessive supination (outward rolling) places a large strain on the muscles and tendons that stabilize the ankle, and can lead to the ankle rolling completely over, resulting in an ankle sprain or total ligament rupture.
The picture to the right shows the foot over supinating or rolling outward.
Excessive pronation and supination can cause a number of ailments that affect the foot, ankle, knees, hips and back. Some of the more common symptoms of excessive pronation and supination are listed below.
• Arch pain
• Heel pain
• Flat feet
• Corns and calluses
• Ankle sprains
• Shin Splints
• Achilles tendonitis
• Knee pain
• Hip pain
• Back pain
Pronation and supination are bio-mechanical problems that are best treated and prevented with orthotic inserts. Specific stretching can reduce the problems of pronation and supination, and choosing suitable running surfaces (eg dont run on sloping ground!) will also help.
The shoes you train in is extremely important, so get the right advice on footwear from Luke Hayes at Northside Runners.
To find out more about pronation, supination, running, or the right kind of shoes contact us!