Runner’s World Apparently Doesn’t Understand Feet [Part 2]

If you’re an “over-pronator” you need stability shoes, right?  Or was it “over-supinator”?  This is the second in a series of blog posts dissecting a Runner’s World article that proclaimed to be everything you needed to know about pronation.  You can find Part 1 here.

As we’ve already covered, describing pronation as simply the inward movement of the foot as it rolls to distribute the force of ground impact as you run is far too…simple.  Furthermore, use of the antiquated term “over-pronator” really needs to stop. Here are my additional thoughts:

Although pronation is a natural movement of the foot [yay we agree on something!], the size [Hmm, I assume they mean height, not length but the term “size” isn’t really ideal in this context] of the runner’s arch can affect its ability to roll, causing either supination (“underpronation”) [supination is its own tri-planar movement and in my opinion should  never be referred to as underpronation] or overpronation [ a term that should forever be stricken from the vernacular of any self-respecting runner, healthcare practitioner, footwear retailer, or human]. If you have a normal arch, you’re likely a normal pronator [not true, many many people with “normal” appearing arches have all kinds of pronation and supination issues based on what we have already discussed, meaning problems (structural or functional) up the kinetic chain. Research has not shown that arch height is any kind of indicator of anything!], meaning you’ll do best in a stability shoe that offers moderate pronation control [wait what??!! So after making the one statement we can all agree on, that pronation is a normal movement of the foot, they are now saying that if your foot is “normal” you need a stability shoe that STOPS the normal movement…oh wait, I see, it only moderately stops the normal movement… now I get it…].

Runners with flat feet normally overpronate, so they do well in a motion-control shoe that controls pronation. [are we just talking about anatomically flat feet here or are we also including the majority of people with “flat feet” who really just have collapsing arches?]  High-arched runners typically underpronate [or in Doctor words, “supinate”], so they do best in a neutral-cushioned shoe that encourages a more natural  foot motion. [I don’t understand what they are getting at here but I THINK they are saying someone who “oversupinates” needs a shoe that encourages more natural movement to occur but someone who “overpronates” needs a shoe that stops the natural movement. Yeah, that’s about as clear as mud.]

The Runner’s World Definition of “Normal Pronation“:

The outside part of the heel makes initial contact with the ground. The foot “rolls” inward about fifteen percent, comes in complete contact with the ground, and can support your body weight without any problem. The rolling in of the foot optimally distributes the forces of impact. This movement is called “pronation,” and it’s critical to proper shock absorption. At the end of the gait cycle, you push off evenly from the front of the foot.

Apparently they felt it important to reiterate exactly what they just said at the beginning of the article…just to make sure you got it prior to watching their riveting video on what “normal” pronation is.  Did you want to watch that video?  I’ve got it for you right here!

In Part 3 of my series picking apart this ridiculous article I’ll dig into the Runner’s World definition of Overpronation (don’t worry, that one will have an awesome video too)

If you have questions, we’re here to help. We are dedicated to helping runners understand more about their bodies. If you’d like to chat with us or schedule an appointment, you can reach us at 512-266-1000 ext 1 or info@RunLabAustin.com. If you are interested in learning more about gait mechanics from a clinical perspective, check out  www.meetonthetrack.com or contact us for more info.

Happy Trails!

Dr. D

Part 3: Overpronation