Pronation, its not that bad sol foot and ankle centers

What Does Pronation Mean for Foot Health?

What is “pronation” in the foot and why is it generally accepted to be a bad thing? It’s a difficult question to answer without unraveling years of inaccurate running shoe marketing and getting very deep into the biomechanical weeds. But let’s try to simplify it a bit and then maybe we can bring some clarity to pronation’s “badness”.

Is Propronationnation Bad for Your Feet?

The primary reason we think of pronation as bad is that, in the common terminology that gets thrown around out there, pronation is synonymous with flattening of the arches or “flat feet”. That leads us to the conclusion that pronation is the EVIL that causes all of the different foot problems that we associate with having flat feet. It also leads shoe companies to capitalize on our FEAR of pronation by producing shoes with features that they claim will stop this horrible threat!

What's the Difference Between Pronation and Over-Pronation

Here’s why that’s wrong. First, the word “pronation” is a verb, an action, used to describe a type of motion of the foot (and also the hand, but that’s for a different type of doctor to discuss!). You can visualize it as a general “rolling inward” of the foot.  Pronation is not a disease or even a condition. It doesn’t describe a certain foot shape or structure. Second, with maybe a few exceptions, ALL FEET PRONATE during walking or running. Once the heel hits the ground during normal gait, pronation is a NECESSARY action to get the rest of the foot all the way down to the ground. Pronation of the foot also has other useful functions:  It helps the foot adjust to uneven surfaces and aids in the shock absorption function of the foot as it takes on your entire body weight.


How Does Pronation Affect Walking and Running?

running sol foot and ankle centersIs it possible then that pronation could actually be bad? The short answer – SOMETIMES. To put it as simply as possible: The motion of pronation is supposed to happen a certain amount, at a certain rate, and at certain times as your foot hits the ground, takes your weight, and then prepares to lift off of the ground again. Pronation CAN be “bad” (i.e. cause injuries) if it happens too much, too fast, and/or when it’s not supposed to be happening. This is commonly called “over-pronation” (not a great word, but it gets the point across) and is what puts excess stress on some of the tendons, ligaments, and even bones of the foot, which can lead to inflammation, tissue damage, and PAIN.


Can Shoes Correct Pronation Problems?brooks

What do you think about pronation now? If this short description doesn’t clear it up for you don’t worry – you’re not alone. (You should have seen the blank stares in 2nd year podiatric biomechanics class when we learned about this!) However, here are what I think should be some take-home messages about pronation:

1. Is pronation a necessary function of the foot? Absolutely.

2. Is pronation bad? Sometimes.

3. Can my shoes stop pronation? Absolutely NOT (and you don’t want them to). Related Article "It's All About the Shoes"

4. Am I a nerd for thinking this is interesting stuff? ABSOLUTELY!

If you’re also a nerd and you like this stuff then watch for Dr. Jadali’s upcoming article about pronation (no doubt it will be a different perspective than mine) and also our upcoming articles about pronation’s friend supination!

Dr Jadali Sol Foot and Ankle Centers

Imagine a day without foot pain slowing you down—a day where work, exercise, and daily activities feel comfortable again. At Sol Foot & Ankle Centers, we offer same-day appointments because we know life doesn't pause for pain. We're open Monday through Saturday to provide you the flexibility to seek care on your schedule. With locations across Long Beach, CA, expert foot care is closer than you think.

Give us a call at📞 (562) 433-0478.

Related Article "It's All About the Shoes"





Q: What is pronation?
A: Pronation is the natural inward rolling motion of the foot during walking or running. It helps with shock absorption and adjusting to uneven surfaces.

Q: Is pronation bad for your feet?
A: Pronation itself is not bad; it is a normal and necessary foot function. Problems arise when there is excessive or incorrect timing of pronation, known as over-pronation, which can lead to foot injuries.

Q: What is the difference between pronation and over-pronation?
A: Pronation is a normal motion during walking or running. Over-pronation occurs when the foot rolls inward excessively, leading to potential stress on tendons, ligaments, and bones.

Q: Can over-pronation cause injuries?
A: Yes, over-pronation can put excess stress on the foot, potentially causing inflammation, tissue damage, and pain.

Q: Can shoes correct problems related to pronation?
A: While shoes cannot stop pronation and shouldn't aim to, they can help manage excessive pronation and provide support to reduce the risk of injury.

Q: What should I do if I'm interested in learning more about pronation?
A: Stay tuned for more articles from experts like Dr. Jadali, and consider reaching out to a foot specialist for personalized advice and treatment options.

Richard H. Graves, DPM
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Podiatrist, Sports Medicine Specialist