Pronation is the inward rolling of the foot as a step is taken. If this rolling motion goes too far, the alignment of the foot is compromised as you "push off" towards the next step.
Here is what happens when you take a step.
- Heel strike happens on the outside of your heel. (Yes, this is normal.)
- The weight distribution moves to the center of your heel before progressing forward along the outside of your foot.
When the weight reaches the ball of your foot, it moves across the ball towards the inside of your foot. This inward rolling motion is pronation – a valuable shock-absorbing feature of the foot. For an efficient stride, push-off happens when the weight is just behind the second toe.
- Unfortunately, most people continue to roll to the inside and overpronate.
When your foot overpronates, the arch flattens, the toes pivot toward the outside and the knee rotates inward. None of these motions are positive for your body.
- When the arch flattens, it puts stress on the connective tissue between your heel and the ball of your foot, causing fatigue. In addition, your foot now has a lower instep and tends to slide forward in your shoes.
- As the toes pivot outward, the bones of the foot are no longer in a stable position and forward motion is much less efficient.
- The inward roll of the knee can cause discomfort and alignment problems, especially if you are on your feet all day.
There is an excellent control point to limit pronation for an efficient, comfortable stride. There is a "shelf" on the inside of the heel bone, towards the rear of the arch. This is the Calcaneal shelf. Support beneath it is the best way to limit pronation.
- By providing support under the Calcaneal shelf, pronation can be controlled.
Spreading the support forward into the arch makes thesupport much more comfortable.
- The best support is fairly firm, with a spring-like feeling. An accurate fit is necessary to insure that this firm support is completely comfortable.
If you have never experienced support that controls pronation, it may feel strange at first. After a short adjustment period, you will feel more comfort and power in your stride and will be protecting the structure of your feet for years to come.