What is pronation?
Pronation is an inward turning of the ankle that take place when a person runs or walks. It places strain on the ankle and knee joint and can cause tightening of the Piriformis muscle, which, when strained, can mimic sciatica.
The most obvious route taken by running shops when they come across a pronator, is to advise them to get an anti-pronation running shoe. This shoe has a thicker layer on the inside of the shoe that helps arrest the inward turn of the ankle.
Some causes of pronation:
Flat Foot Arches
Most websites and specialist running shops have been taught that people with lower foot arches pronate. In order to test for this they advise that you wet your feet and then stand on paper. A larger wet surface area implies a lower foot arch and a smaller wet pattern implies a higher foot arch. There is an easier way to do this: simply look at the foot arch! I have come across many runners with flat foot arches who do not pronate but have ended up with a ‘specialist’ who has prescribed an anti-pronation shoe, simply because the specialist had been taught the wet foot test.
The runner with a flatter foot arch will not necessarily be a pronator. A flatter foot arch that gives way when the runner’s weight rolls over the foot will pronate. The runner is very often helped by simply wearing a shoe with decent arch support. Getting a runner like this into a neutral shoe will help them to avoid injuries associated with anti-pronators, and also allow them to enjoy a softer and lighter shoe. Podiatrists are able to accurately build supports custom made for your foot.
A Weakness in the Subtalar Joint:
This form of pronation responds well to anti-pronators. The level of correction that the shoe provides must, however, correspond to the level of pronation observed in the runner. Many of these runners do well in stability shoes, while some need mild anti-pronators, and others strong anti-pronators.
There are exercises that you can do to strengthen the medial muscles of the lower leg.
Weakness in the Gluteus Medius Muscles:
Weakness in the Glut Medius muscle will place all sorts of strain on the runner, including trigger points that can develop on the hips and lower back. This weakness causes the runner’s unsupported hip to drop, which in turn causes the weight bearing leg to move under the runner thereby placing the foot in a pronated position.
I have found in such cases that the runner benefits from an anti-pronation running shoe. However with proper Glut Medius strengthening exercises it might be possible to move the runner into a neutral shoe in due course. You can find out more about weak Glut Medius muscles 0n http://sbrsport.me/2012/11/25/weak-gluteus-medius-muscles-and-a-chain-reaction/
These runners also benefit from lower back and Glut Medius trigger point release therapy.
Pop in to the shop when you get a chance. We are committed to putting you into the best shoe possible for your condition and to also giving you advice as to how to strengthen problem areas.
You will get to run for a short time on our treadmill and we will film and then measure your rate of pronation. There is no way you can accurately calculate pronation levels with the naked eye.
You should be regularly assessed as things change for the better and sometimes for the worse over time.