• Blog >
  • Sports Podiatry/Foot Biomechanics
RSS Feed

Sports Podiatry/Foot Biomechanics

We would like to briefly explain the basics behind what pronation and supination mean which will help you on selecing the proper running shoe and possible supporitve custom foot orthotic.

Pronation is a normal facet of the gait cycle. Pronation can become a problem only when it becomes excessive. Overpronation can result form an inherited foot structure, muscle or tendon imbalance, injury, or biomechanical irregularties. A foot that overpronates is considered an unstable foot. The advantage is that it can become better a better shock absorber but it may not be able to be stable enough to prevent injury. In this circumstance a shoe model that incoroporates motion control characteristics will be more benificial. In certain cases this may not be enough and a custom foot orthotic to further help control pronation may be required.

Supination is the opposite of pronation. It occurs normally after heel strike to help the foot become a rigid lever to propel off of. Oversupination is rare. What is more common is underpronation, which can occur with a rigid, high-arched foot. A foot that underpronates is not not able to absorb shock as well which can lead to stress fractures, heel pain, and other lower extremity sport related injuries. A foot that underpronates requires a shoe capable of absorbing shock well. 

Evaluating over-and underpronation by wathcing someone walk or run can be difficult for the untrained observer. This judgement should be left to your Sports Physician, professional shoe store or coach. Normal foot strike occurs on the outside portion of the heel area, where most shoes typically exhibit excessive wear. This is a normal pattern. If the counter bends inward usually means underpronation is taking place.

If you have bunions, arthritis, and hammer toes in your feet you may select a shoe with a wider toe box or make sure the upper of the shoe does not irritate any painful areas of the foot.