Overpronation: An Athlete’s Nightmare


Any athlete who has been a keen runner for a number of years will have most likely experienced every ache and pain under the sun. Unfortunately, the nature of running means that the lower body is susceptible to a lot of impact and this causes various problems with knees, ankles and feet.

This article is actually going to concentrate on all three areas of the body, with overpronation one of the most common problems that an athlete suffers from. However, to help distinguish exactly what it is, we’ll now take a look at all three forms of pronation which might indicate why you are experiencing certain pain in the lower regions of your body following exercise. Fortunately, all three issues can be rectified relatively easily, as we’ll also find out through the remaining portion of this post.

Normal Pronation

To start with, we’ll identify the average running motion which is generally described as normal pronation. As the foot comes into contact with the ground, it will roll approximately 15% inwards which will help it retain the body’s balance. This short process is how the foot is able to absorb the constant shock from running, with the rolling motion allowingthe weight to be distributed evenly – and not be biased to one side rather than the other.


The key issue of normal pronation is the foot rolling that 15% inwards, with this producing the optimum amount of impact on the relevant parts of the body. Alternatively, as the name of underpronation suggests, the foot won’t roll as much of this and this means that the impact is concentrated on a much smaller area. Needless to say, these areas of the foot are put under much more pressure and it also has a knock-on effect for the push-off – with the smaller three toes generally being used for this process.
Underpronation isn’t quite as common as overpronation and tends to affect those individuals who have flat feet – making it much harder for the 15% rotation to occur.


Following the direction that this post has taken so far, you’ll have probably already guessed that overpronation involves the foot rotation occurring more than 15%. As well as being more common, overpronation is also seen as being a much bigger problem as it can present all sorts of balance issues as the foot is manoeuvring at a much quicker and sometimes clumsy rate. In contrast to underpronation, when the foot then tries to push-off again, the big toes are left with most of the task and this means that as well as the obvious impact injuries, these toes can also come under excessive strain.

Fortunately, you don’t necessarily have to invest in an expensive sports physiotherapist to solve the issue and this is one of the few conditions where your equipment or footwear in particular, can play a big role in reducing the impact. For example, Brooks adrenaline are good for moderate overpronators, while there are countless trainers that are appropriate for those that suffer from underpronation. The design of the footwear encourages extra or less rotation of the foot, and this tends to relieve the majority of symptoms when exercise commences again.

Andrew Faulkner

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