Experience From - Eric Robinson, Ed Furtaw, Ron McBee, Dave Combs, Dana Roueche, Kevin McWilliams, MS, PT , Richard Tabor ,
"The new question I wanted to pose was: "Why do almost half of runners who have motion control problems THINK they supinate (Under-pronate or rolling out) but actually over-pronate. Less than 5% of runners supinate. Do you think YOU supinate? Why do you think that? I want to know. Is it because of excess wear on the outside of you shoe, or is there more to it than that?"I'm sure I don't supinate -- except when hitting an odd surface on a trail. But I have a real tough time buying into the idea 50% of all runners over-pronate, and 5% under-pronate, while only 45% are "normal". Not that becoming bipedal is easy, but evolution should have done a better job than that.
I have been told I am an extreme pronator. Yet my injuries are rarely of the type ascribed to overpronation, such as achilles, itb. My understanding of shoe mechanics is that motion control generally comes at the expense of shock absorption, so barring obvious indicators that my "overpronation" is hurting me, I'm going to stick with flexible, motion-allowing shoes.
Things I wonder:
Who defines overpronation? Exactly how many degrees from vertical would that be? Have studies ever correlated certain injuries with regularly exceeding that number of degrees? If not, why all the uproar? Is it all about shoe sales?
I agree with Eric Robinson on this when he wonders, "who defines over pronation...is it all about selling shoes..."
When I first started running there was only one around that I was aware of and it only had one model so there was no talk about over-pronating, supination, etc. It wasn't until different models started showing up that this became an issue. And I don't doubt there is some legitimacy to all that. I went to one of this running shoe stores when they first popped up and the guy told me I over-pronated so I went for the big dollar shoe. It wasn't until some years later that I read an article by Anderson indicating it was hype for the most part and to try and get away with the least shoe you could. So I got to thinking I "had" been running for years in the "least" shoe and never had a problem. Long story short; I've saved a bunch of money.
"I have been told I am an extreme pronator. Yet my injuries are rarely of the type ascribed to overpronation, such as achilles, itb. My understanding of shoe mechanics is that motion control generally comes at the expense of shock absorption, so barring obvious indicators that my "overpronation" is hurting me, I'm going to stick with flexible, motion-allowing shoes."
In about 1980, after I had been running regularly for about three years, I was told that I was over-pronating. At the time, I didn't know what it meant, and didn't change anything about my running because of the alleged over-pronation. I was running about 40 mpw, and had virtually no running-related injuries or pains.
By 1982, I had developed rather severe heel spurs. I then learned from a podiatrist (at a cost of several hundred dollars for orthotics) about the consequences of years of uncontrolled over-pronation. I have been wearing orthotics and "stability"-designed running shoes ever since. I have also had to restrict my running to an average of less than 30 mpw in order to avoid heel pain.
So my experience suggests that if a runner over-pronates and does not address the problem as early as possible, that runner will later get to address the problem from a position of pain and urgency and expense.
"Things I wonder: Who defines overpronation? Exactly how many degrees from vertical would that be? Have studies ever correlated certain injuries with regularly exceeding that number of degrees? If not, why all the uproar? Is it all about shoe sales?"
I have seen three podiatrists over the years for my heel spur-related problems. None of them ever talked to me in specifics of degrees of pronation, etc. There is probably no pat answer to your questions. But if you are able to learn from my painful experiences, you will look for ways to control your pronation so that it doesn't lead to the permanent heel spurs and resulting limitations which I have.
Ron McBee wrote:
"I agree with Eric Robinson on this when he wonders, "who defines over pronation...is it all about selling shoes..."Well, actually it's not ALL about selling shoes. I am an extreme over-pronator, who suffers from a condition called 'tarsal tunnel syndrome'. Yep, it's just like carpal tunnel, but in the feet rather than the wrist. Because I pronate so much, the space in my ankle where the nerve is that runs up the bottom of my feet is too small, which means that if I run for a bit, I start to get tingling and the 'pins and needles' feeling in the balls of my feet. This leads quickly to a very sore foot, since each step just beats on the area where the nerves are affected. No fun after 15 or 20 miles, not to mention 50 or 100.
I went for years with shoes that were nice and light (and I still like them) and had no correction, because the way my legs are shaped made it appear like I wasn't pronating at all (from the wear pattern on the shoes.) Took about 8 or 10 years to get a correct diagnosis. Much as I would prefer not to have them, I need serious orthotics to correct the pronation enough that I can cut down the pins and needles feeling to be able to run more than a few miles.
So they (the doctors and shoe salesmen) are not always out for a quick buck!
I remember reading a long time ago that the running shoe itself can and will lead to biomechanical problems such as overpronation or supination. This occurs by changing the dynamics of how your foot naturally hits the ground and naturally absorbs shock, the foot and legs no longer function under the same parameters they have evolved to. As shoes become more supportive and more cushioned, there is less connection with the ground not allowing the foot to function as it was intended to. It is not surprising with today's beefed up shoes that there are problems. These problems may not be the result of being short changed genetically, rather the result of spending too much money on running shoes. Instead of heading back to simplicity, our shoe companies have decided to engineer a solution into the design bringing the foot even further from the ground. If you made the mistake of buying $100 running shoes, developed motion control problems, the mind set is to pay $130 for motion control shoes. Or should they be called wallet control shoes? Maybe the solution is to go with a simpler shoe that better allows your foot to do the job it was intended to do in the first place.
In fairness, the reason for the overcushioned and oversupported shoe was to protect us against another unnatural force, PAVEMENT. If you choose to pound out 100s of miles on the pavement, the simple shoes will not too protect against the tremendous amount of bone jarring that goes on when running on pavement.
The solution which many of us have found is to limit running on pavement and concrete. Again, look for the more natural route that we evolved from and run on dirt, either trails or dirt roads and you will be able to use simpler less padded shoes.
By running on dirt with simpler shoes, you will have more of a tendency to run biomechanically correct and your shoes will wear more evenly. Personally I use Nike's middle of the line, Pegasus. Because it has an airsole which doesn't break down and the bottoms wear evenly for me, I am able to wear these shoes over 2,500 miles before retiring them from running. I have never been injured and I run 4,000 miles/yr. I'm sure I am a shoe company's worst nightmare. Given they expect you to replace their shoes every 600 to 800 miles.
My advice if you are having a problem, before spending a lot of money on motion control running shoes, find a good mid line shoe and head for the trails. If you really want to test the notion, skip the shoes and cut some sandles from tires. Please don't attempt this on pavement.
I was reading through the section on Pronation and Supination and I thought I could answer some of the questions concerning the above. I am a physical therapist who has worked with runners and running injuries.
Supination and pronation are two normal motions that the entire leg, hip, pelvis and spine go through as a person walks. The terms were first used to describe the three planes of motion we see at the foot and ankle during the gait cycle. We have since gone on the use the terms to describe the three planes of motion the lower extremity goes through (the whole leg will follow the foot). These are normal motions, it is just that some of us have more or less of one than other people. As the heel strikes the ground and the foot starts to come down, gravity forces a bone called the talus to move down and toward the middle of our body. This motion is called pronation. Pronation "unlocks" the forefoot so that it becomes flexible to accommodate the the ground. As our weight begins to pass over the foot, the heel is pulled on and the talus begins to travel back "up and out" and this motion is called supination. Supination "relocks" the forefoot, so that we have a rigid forefoot to push off as we go to the next step. People with High arches tend to have very little pronation because the arch is very rigid. There foot cannot "unlock". If you have a flat foot, you have too much pronation. Your foot goes down and in so far that you don't have time during the gait cycle to supinate and your push off a flexible forefoot. I hope this is not too confusing. Now to make matters worse, the amount of pronation and supination a person has in their feet can be effected by the amount and control of pronation/supination at the knee, hip and pelvis.
Part of the problem with buying shoes is that you get a person who may not really understand the concept of pronation and supination telling you what kind of foot you have. Pronation/supination is not a problem unless it becomes pathological, i.e. you have foot or leg pain or injuries. And then it is often more than just your foot type. We do see "pronation" injuries in people who don't pronate effectively and visa versa. Heel spurs, plantar fasciatis etc. are not the domain of one foot type. I hope that I have answered some of the questions about pronation and supination. If you have problems, I would always suggest that a Sports or Orthopedic Physical Therapist be consulted. Someone familiar with running injuries.
As a salesperson in the athletic footwear field, please allow me to address some of the questions in the "Pronation/Supination" section of this site.
On average, more people have lower insteps. A lower instep causes a person to still roll towards the inside of the forefoot. Although not every person's degree of over-pronation is as severe as some, there are many "controlling" devices.
Dual Density EVA. A compression molded ethele vinyl acetate midsole that is compressed more so on the medial side of the rearfoot/midfoot. This is designed to restrict overpronation for the less severe cases.