Pronation—it's not a four letter word

Pronation—it's not a four letter word
Group of people running

At Cowichan Valley Running, not only do we sell running footwear, apparel, and accessories, but we're also here to help you determine what type of running shoe is best for you so that you remain injury free, and can continue to do the activities you love—running, walking, and hiking to name a few.

There are different types of running shoes? Yes. And I’m not talking about brands. Shoes generally fall into three categories: neutral, stability, and cushioning. Each category addresses the different ways people pronate. Agh! Isn’t pronation bad? No. Pronation is the basis of your body’s shock absorption system and a completely natural part of your gait.

Here’s a description of ideal pronation in action. While walking, the outside of the heel strikes the ground, the arch collapses down to absorb impact, and the foot rolls toward the toes, coming back to a neutral position. Overpronation means the foot rolls excessively and the arch is flattened, while underpronation (or supination) means the arch is rigid and the outside of the foot takes the brunt of the force.

Speaking of force, the force applied when running can be up to eight times your body weight, and per Newton’s Third Law, the equal opposing force then goes through your feet, ankles, knees, and hips. If your pronation isn’t neutral, it can set off a chain reaction causing injury in any number of areas.

So, how do you find out how you pronate and how can shoes help? Pop into your local independent running shoe store and ask to have your gait assessed! The island has many excellent running shoe stores with well trained staff that can help you—including Cowichan Valley Running, of course! If you have a neutral gait, you should be able to find shoes easily and will be less likely to be injured due to your gait. If you overpronate, you will want to find a stability, or motion control, shoe. The underpronators will want to look for shoes that offer superb cushioning.

In my opinion, feet are the foundation to a healthy body. If you’re feet aren’t happy, the only sport in which you’ll be partaking is couch surfing. Just as you would protect the foundation of your home, you have to look after your feet, and that means getting your tootsies into the right footwear. Pop in to the store and say hello, and let’s have a look at your gait together!

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