Our feet are our body’s first shock absorbers – they alternately flex and stiffen as the body moves to absorb impact, respond to uneven surfaces and act as a lever to propel the body forward. Feet can be classified into three broad categories based on how they perform in this role.
Each of your feet can be a different foot type. If you overpronate, one of your feet can pronate more than the other. Whatever your foot type, Footbalance custom-molded insoles properly support your arches in the neutral position to aid in a balanced stance and facilitate healthy foot function.
Pronation is the natural way that our feet absorb shock: when our feet strike the ground the arches flex down and in to disperse the impact.
Everyone pronates! Contrary to popular misconception it is healthy and normal. The problem begins when one or both of our feet pronate too much. When the arches flex too far inward or stay collapsed for too long pronation is considered excessive. We call this overpronation.
The amount of overpronation can vary from mild to severe. In severe overpronation the feet and ankles can rotate too far inward just during standing.
Overpronation is by far the most common foot type. Pronation is not linked one-to-one with low
arches. Although pronation lowers the arches, this does not mean that only those with low arches overpronate. People with high arches can also overpronate! Some of us have always overpronated, for others overpronation develops with age, weight gain, regular standing work or intensive exercise.
Pronounced wear on the instep side of shoe heels can indicate overpronation, however it’s best to get an accurate assessment. Footbalance retailers offer a free foot analysis to check for overpronation and help you learn more about your feet.
Overpronation can negatively affect overall body alignment. The lowering of the longitudinal arch pulls the heel bone in, causing the leg, thigh bone and hip to rotate inwards, and an anterior tilt of the pelvis. Unnecessary strain to the ankles, knees, hips and back can result.
Plantar fasciitis and inflammation, metatarsal pain, problems with the Achilles tendon, pain on the inside of the knee, and bursitis in the hip are just some of the conditions commonly associated with pronation.
Supination is a natural part of all walking and running. It is the way the feet propel the body forward: the foot turns or rotates outward as the heel lifts, weighting the forefoot and toes to push-off the ground.
Supination is a natural part of movement and is normal when it occurs appropriately. Supination can become harmful when it occurs for too long or at the wrong times, or if the foot can no longer control the outward rolling. This excessive supination is what people mean when they say that someone supinates or is a supinator. Excessive supination is also called underpronation.
In excessive supination the foot rolls outward, distributing more weight along the outside of the foot and pushing the anklebone out. This causes excess strain on the ankle muscles and tendons and decreases ankle flex, reducing the foot’s natural ability to absorb shock. The smaller toes must do most of the work during push-off, decreasing efficiency of walking and running.
Footbalance retailers offer a free foot analysis to check for excessive supination and help you learn more about your feet.
Neutral refers to good alignment in the feet and ankles in which the feet and ankles form a straight line. The feet form a stable platform with pressure distributed evenly across the heel and forefoot.
Are neutral feet common?
Having a neutral foot and gait contributes to good overall body alignment in which ankles, knees and hips are not strained inward or outward. This facilitates good overall bio-mechanics, which help prevent excess strain on the muscles, joints and spine, reducing the risk of many types of injuries.