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Topic Title: Foot Pronation and Injury Prevention
Created On: 08/03/2009 11:46 AM
 08/03/2009 11:46 AM

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What I have learned about injury prevention over the years as a distance runner begin with understanding your form. I must admit that I have terrible form, and it is something I will continue to work on, but I thought I could pass on a few tidbits of information that may help new runners prevent injury from the beginning.
Unlike some other sports that require all kinds of equiptment, the only thing you really need to start running is a good pair of sneakers. I should probably stress a GOOD pair of sneakers! But what exactly does that mean? it doesn't necessarily mean a cute color or the most expensive pair. (Trust me, I've learned that the hard way!) What it does mean is finding a shoe that fits to the way YOUR feet move. A pair of sneakers that your friend wears may not be perfect for you. Now, I am definitely not saying you have to sacrifice the look of your sneaker, just find a cute pair with the right cushioning.
Recognizing how your foot pronates in the first step in determining what shoe is right for you.
What is Pronation?
The easiest way to say this is that pronation is the natural movement of your foot  from the moment it hits the ground. The foot rolls from the outer edge inward as it reacts to the shock of hitting the ground. Everyone pronantes, but if you pronate too much or not enough, this can lead to injury. There are three basic catergories of pronation: Normal pronation, Over-pronation and Under-pronation. 
Normal Pronation
As the heel hits the ground, the foot rolls inward and comes in complete contact with the ground. Your ankle should be balanced (not tilted to one side or the other). When your foot begins to push off of the ground, pressure is exerted accross all of the toes. This type of pronation will distribute the shock evenly without forcing too much pressure on one part of your foot.
As the heel hits the ground, the foot rolls inward and continues to roll after it comes in complete contact with the ground. Your ankle is not stabalized when this happens and as a result, when the foot pushes off of the ground, the pressure is focused on the big and/or second toe. Runners with flat feet tend to over-pronate.
As the heel hits the ground, the foot does not roll inward enough to bring the foot into complete contact with the ground. All of the shock is absorbed by a much smaller portion of the foot and when the foot begins to push off of the ground, it is the outter edge and smaller toes that take on the pressure. Runners with high arches tend to under-pronate.
To determine what kind of pronation you do, you can either have somebody watch you walk and look for signs mentioned above, or you can examine a used pair of sneakers. Sneakers which have been worn out evenly are typically a sign of normal pronation, while those showing more waer on the inner part of the sole show over-pronation and more wear on the outter portion show under-pronation.
What this means when buying a shoe?
If you find that your pronation is normal, a shoe with moderate cushioning and control will work best for you.
If you see over-pronation, finding a shoes with extra cushioning to contol movement will be your best option.
If you see under-pronation, finding a shoes with a more neutral cushioning will encourage greater movement of the foot.
Take a look at the images I have posted for a better idea of what a foot will look like at each level of pronation...
[img=163x114][/img]  [img=163x116][/img]  [img=163x114][/img]
Hope this helps!


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