Let the Good Feet Roll! Overpronator or Supinator?
by Coach Jill Csillag
Are you an overpronator or a supinator?
Does that question have you scratching your head? Do you think it’s possible I just insulted your mother?
To put it simply, overpronation is a natural part of a walking or running stride. In order for the foot to move fluidly, and maintain balance and forward motion, the foot and the ankle rolls slightly inward to accommodate the ground surface and body mechanics. Everyone pronates to a certain degree while they walk and run.
It’s when you pronate too much that you run into trouble. You see, a foot that rolls inward (overpronates) excessively throws your entire alignment off, thereby impacting your ankles, knees, hips, and back. If you are an overpronator, you may also find yourself susceptible to shin splints, hammertoes, corns & callouses, just to name a few.
If you are a supinator, this means you have the opposite problem – a tendency to walk on the outside of your feet.
Supination describes an excessive outward rolling motion the foot and ankle during a walking or running stride. This motion can place extra stress on the foot. Supination is more common in those with flat feet and can lead to foot aches and pain, such as Illiotibial Band Syndrome, Plantar Fasciitis, shin splints, and knee pain.
How can you tell if you are an overpronator or a supinator? One of the easiest ways to find out is a handy-dandy do it yourself “wet” test, where you simply get the soles of the feet wet. ‘
Get your feet wet and stand on a flat surface that will allow your footprint to be shown. A paper towel works well. Compare your footprint to the images in this link.
Of course, this isn’t a foolproof method of determining your arch and foot type, but at least it will give you an idea, especially if you find yourself battling some injuries related to your specific foot type. Enlisting the services of a podiatrist or orthopedist can provide you with an accurate diagnosis of your exact foot type.
You can always have your gait analyzed at a sports medicine clinic or your local running store as well.
So, what value is there in having this knowledge? Well, aside from the fact it’s pretty cool to learn the biomechanics of YOUR body and how it works, it’s also beneficial to determine the cause of various injuries or issues. It’s also advantageous to be armed with this information as a preventative measure to avoid further problems down the line.
Now that you know if you are an overpronator or a supinator, tomorrow we will discuss what types of shoes you should be wearing for each instance.
Tomorrow: Finding the right shoe for YOU!
Have a question for Coach Jill? Ask it in the comments below!