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What is Pronation?

Pronation is the tri-planar motion that allows us to transfer weight from our heels to the balls of our feet during gait. The most important thing to understand about pronation is that it is necessary. Normal pronation is the ideal situation for anyone. If an individual overpronates or underpronates, they may experience problems.

If you have a normal arch, you’re likely a normal pronator. Individuals with flat feet normally overpronate, and those with high arches are typically underpronaters. While arch type can go a long way to determine whether or not your levels of pronation are normal, a thorough gait analysis and therapy from a trained professional is recommended.


Normal Pronation

The outside part of the heel makes initial contact with the ground. The foot “rolls” inward about fifteen percent, a pronated feet 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.


As with the “normal pronation” sequence, the outside of the heel makes the initial ground contact. However, the foot rolls inward more than the ideal fifteen percent, which is called “overpronation.” This means the foot and ankle have problems stabilizing the body, and shock isn’t absorbed as efficiently. At the end of the gait cycle, the front of the foot pushes off the ground using mainly the big toe and second toe, which then must do all the work while you walk and often leads to foot injuries.

Underpronation (Supination)

Again, the outside of the heel makes initial contact with the ground. But the inward movement of the foot occurs at less than fifteen percent (i.e., there is less rolling in than for those with normal or flat feet). Consequently, forces of impact are concentrated on a smaller area of the foot (the outside part), and are not distributed as efficiently. In the push-off phase, most of the work is done by the smaller toes on the outside of the foot which tend to cause injuries to your foot.

Pronation common symptoms/complaints

Symptoms can manifest in many different ways. The associated conditions depend on the individual lifestyle of each patient. Here is a list of some of the conditions associated with Over Pronation:

  • Hallux Abducto Valgus (bunions)
  • Hallux Rigidus (stiff 1st toe)
  • Arch Pain
  • Heel Pain (plantar Fasciitis)
  • Metatarsalgia (ball of the foot pain)
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Shin Splints
  • Achilles Tendonitis (a condition wherein the Achilles tendon, at or near its insertion to the back of the heel, becomes inflamed and causes pain)
  • Osteochondrosis
  • Knee Pain
  • Corns & Calluses
  • Flat Feet
  • Hammer Toes
  • Appearance of Over Pronation

shoes for pronation

  1. When standing, your heels lean inward.
  2. When standing, one or both of your kneecaps turn inward.
  3. Conditions such as flat feet or bunions may occur.
  4. You develop knee pain when you are active or involved in athletics and run a lot. The knee pain slowly goes away when you rest.
  5. You abnormally wear out the soles and heels of your shoes very quickly.

If you have one or two of these symptoms, you should seek help from a health professional for treatment options so that these symptoms cannot cause severe injuries to your foot.

How is pronation caused?

Over-pronation is very prominent in people who have flexible, flat feet. The framework of the foot begins to collapse, causing the foot to flatten and adding stress to other parts of the foot. As a result, over-pronation often leads to Plantar Fasciitis, Heel Spurs, Metatarsalgia, Post-tib Tendonitis and/or Bunions.

There are many causes of flat feet. Obesity, pregnancy or repetitive pounding on a hard surface can weaken the arch leading to over-pronation. Often people with flat feet do not experience discomfort immediately, and some never suffer from any discomfort at all. However, when symptoms develop and become painful, walking becomes awkward and causes increased strain.

Pronation can be present at birth or develop at an early age, and is often a hereditary condition. In some people, however, pronation develops as a symptom of foot abuse from any of the following factors:

  • Weakened muscles due to aging or heavy strain placed on the feet may cause pronation.
  • Standing or walking for long periods in high heels can lead to pronation.
  • Wearing shoes that don’t provide proper arch support may be a contributing factor to the development of pronation.

How is pronation treated?

Over-Pronation can be treated conservatively (non-surgical treatments) with orthotics that are designed with appropriate arch support and/or medial rearfoot posting to prevent the over-pronation.

Footwear should also be examined to ensure there is a proper fit. Footwear with a firm heel counter and a rigid midsole or shank is often recommended for extra support and stability as one of the treament options. Improperly fitting footwear can lead to additional foot problems as well as injury.

If you’ve tried to self-correct your pronated feet before and you’re still experiencing pain or chronic injuries, consider seeing a health professional specializing in treating pronation who can recommend treatment options like therapy that can help solve the problem.

Best Shoes for Pronation

We carry a wide variety of shoes, runners and sandals for pronation. Many of the supportive shoes and sandals we carry have great support and accommodate orthotics which is very helpful for pronation. The best shoes for pronation support the foot and have stiff soles. Additionally, shoes for pronation usually have a steel or plastic shank for additional support. Shoes for pronation should have a very rigid sole and a stiff heel counter.

Best Arch Supports for Pronation

We have a wide variety of arch supports for pronation for your foot health. The best arch support for pronation will control pronation, and be adjustable to meet your individual needs. The best insoles for pronation usually are custom molded and have rear foot postings to help control the amount the arch falls when you take a step. If you’re a runner with pronated feet, we have over the counter arch supports and custom molded orthotics which help reduce the pain associated with pronation. Make an appointment today with a specialist to find out which pronation arch support is best for you!

Where to buy arch supports and shoes for pronation

At Lucky Feet Shoes, we carry a wide variety of arch supports and shoes for pronation online and in Southern California. We fit customers with arch supports and shoes for pronation in Orange County, Inland Empire, Riverside, Temecula and Los Angeles County. Our stores in Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Dimas, Anaheim Hills, Temecula, La Quinta, Palm Desert, Costa Mesa, and Long Beach. We invite you to stop by for a free foot analysis and try our arch supports and shoes for pronation. In addition, we have a large selection of comfort shoes, wide shoes, walking shoes, running shoes, arch supports, and custom orthotics!