Ask Brian from Athletico: What Is Over Pronation?

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Learning all the technical terms and knowing the mechanics of your run is tough for those of us who run recreationally. Luckily, you don't have to get a degree in kinesiology to get some expert advice-- we have Brian Kura, a physical therapist from Athletico, on hand to answer your questions and give his expert advice. If you have a question for Brian's weekly post, leave a comment here, or tweet it to @StrideNBC and we'll ask Brian and post your answer next week.

This week, Brian explains what pronation is. Chances are, you've heard the term "over pronate" before, but if you weren't quite sure what it means, here's Brian with your answer:

"When walking, jogging, or running, a majority of individuals contact the ground with their heel first. This is the heel strike phase of gait, and in a normal gait pattern, the heel is contacted more on the outer edge.

Pronation is the natural and healthy series of events that causes the foot to move from heel strike to a flat position on the ground. This allows for stability, balance, and the transition to the push off phase of the gait pattern.

If pronation doesn’t occur, the foot won’t achieve a flat contact with the ground, negatively affecting balance. This also impairs your ability to push off of the big toe—pronation allows for a powerful push off.

But when over pronation occurs, there are excessive loads placed on the midtarsal joints (in the middle of the foot) and on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the foot. This can lead to pain, plantar fasciitis, stress fracture, and other types of overuse injuries.

Diagnosing excessive pronation requires observation from a trained eye. Video gait analysis can allow a therapist or professional to properly diagnose a runner who may be over pronating and other factors that may be leading to the flawed mechanics. Orthotics are not always necessary and often times gait retraining, strengthening core and hip muscles, or a simple shoe change can help to correct the problem.

Not all pronation is excessive and requires corrective measures. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and pronation is a natural and healthy compensation that our bodies use to allow for improved balance when standing, walking, or running.

A beginner or novice runner that is experiencing pain and is concerned that they may be over pronating can contact their local Athletico clinic for an injury screen or seek advice from their primary care physician."

So there you have it. Got any questions? Tweet us @StrideNBC and we'll ask Brian for advice.

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