One of the most helpful topics for understanding shin splints its to learn about foot pronation. Pronation (rolling in) and supination (rolling out) refer to the foots natural rolling movement while running or walking. It is a motion often described as the actions and reactions your foot performs to support, cushion and balance your body. The running stride.
Determining which form of running stride you have is important for healing shin splints and choosing the best type of shoe.
There are three types of strides (neutral, overpronator and supinator), which all result from the anatomical structure of the runners foot and their individual running technique.
Types of foot pronation
Foot pronation occurs in our every step from the heel strike to when our foot is flat on the ground. This natural movement is the body’s natural mechanism in reducing the shock that is being transferred to our legs.
Deviations from normal pronation affect one’s walking or running stride and may cause injuries. One injury that is commonly rooted in foot pronation problems is shin splints. Dealing with shin splints include analyzing one’s foot pronation and augmenting it with the proper footwear to help heal and maintain or even prevent the injury.
Neutral Pronation indicates that the weight of the foot is distributed in the middle of the shoe. If your soles of your shoes become worn from the outer heel towards the big toe, you are likely to have a neutral stride. Neutral pronation allows you to run in a variety of different shoes and it is the most common among runners, but certain shoes will offer the best cushioning and support for your needs. Having a neutral stride means the stress induced from running is distributed to the center of the foot, which lessens the probability of injuries.
Overpronation occurs when the weight of the foot is distributed in the inside (medial side) of the foot. It is very common with about 70-80% of the runners. It is a destabilizing stride, which can affect the biomechanical efficiency of the leg, especially from the knee and hip. Overpronators usually have a low arch and they are likely to suffer from achilles tendon problems. Overpronators should consider using shoes with maximum support.
Supination (underpronation) targets the weight to the outside of the foot. The foot pronates very little, which results in a large transmission shock trough the lower leg. This is the rarest form of running, but can often result in medial shin splints on the inside of the foot. Supinators have high arches and they are likely to suffer from stress fractures as the impact to the body is increased. Supinators should use a neutral shoe with plenty of cushioning.
Find out your foot pronation type and arch height
There are two simple tests to quickly determine which type of pronation you are likely to have. They require you to examine your old running shoes for signs of wear and to see which type of footprint you leave behind.
Many runners suffering from shin splints have flat feet, which causes them to over-pronate. If you are aware of having low arches, owning the right pair of footwear could solve a lot of your problems.
To determine what kind of arch you have, step out of the shower and examine your foot print. Alternatively you step a piece of cardboard to get a better view of which shape your foot print matches.
To further determine what kind of foot pronation you are likely to have, examine your old running shoes to see which part they are worn the most.
After understanding foot pronation, head over to our shin splints shoe guide for finding footwear that is right for you. Good shoes can make a tremendous difference in avoiding shin splints.