08 July, 2011
Underpronation When Running
The way your foot hits the ground as you run affects how well you absorb the impact. Pronation refers to the inward roll of your foot as it makes contact with the ground. The arch of your foot affects your pronation. Neutral pronation is ideal, but many runners either overpronate or underpronate, which can cause injury or pain in the joints and muscles.
Underpronation is the term used to describe a foot that doesn't roll inward enough when it hits the ground. The foot doesn't absorb the shock of hitting the ground as well because less of the foot comes into contact with the ground. People who have high arches tend to underpronate. This type of pronation is less likely than overpronation, but both types can cause problems for runners.
A simple method to identify underpronation is to step down normally on your bath mat with wet feet. A piece of cardboard or similar surface also works. If a large portion of the foot doesn't show up in the arch area, you may underpronate. Another identification method is to check out your running shoes. With both shoes on a flat surface such as a table, look at the backs of them at eye-level. If you underpronate, your shoes will likely tilt toward the outsides. You may also notice more wear on the outer edge of the soles or a shifting of the upper portion of the shoe. Another option is to have a gait analysis at a running store.
The lack of inward rolling causes more of the shock to reach the lower leg. This can cause problems in the joints or lead to stress fractures or plantar fasciitis. You may experience pain in your feet, particularly the arches. The underpronation affects your running gait, possibly making you less efficient with each step.
Running shoes designed especially for runners who underpronate reduce the risk of injury and pain. The shoes help absorb the shock when your foot hits the ground. Look for extra cushioning in the shoe to support your foot. Running store staff members typically can recommend specific shoes that best match your running gait. A thorough warm-up and cooldown helps reduce the risk of injury by preparing the muscles and increasing muscle flexibility. If your underpronation continues to affect your running, visit your health care provider for additional options.
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