Forefoot Running Fixes Over Pronation of Feet

Forget about orthotic appliances for correcting your over pronation feet. Stop getting worried about how your feet pronate when you run because as long as you are running with a forefoot strike, feet pronation is more controlled for many reasons whereas the action of heel strike running allows for greater foot motions that occur for a longer duration.

Forefoot Running Better for Over Pronation of Feet

Forefoot Running Fixes Over Pronation of Feet

Foot strike in running influences pronation. Adopting a forefoot strike pattern may reduce over-pronation whereas over-pronation seems to be exacerbated in a heel strike landing.

Pronation patterns differ between forefoot and heel strike runners and of course, over-pronation appears to be more problematic in shod populations than in barefoot runners. This jibes with the fact that the predominate foot strike in shod populations is a heel strike running style.

Is over-pronation bad? 

Over-pronation is thought to contribute to many ailments of the lower extremity such as Achilles tendinopathy and shin splints, both of which are higher in shod populations compared with habitually barefoot runners.

In an attempt to correct over-pronation, orthotic intervention is used to restrict foot movement. However, evidence in support of the effectiveness of orthotics is lacking considerably.

Forefoot Running May Correct Inappropriate Foot Motions

Subotnick et al. 1989 reported that heel strikers who over-pronated suffered from shin splints.  Other work has found that forefoot runners remained in a supinated position throughout the stance phase of running. This finding conveniently suggests that adopting a forefoot strike may curtail the extent of over-pronation.

foot pronation in forefoot running
In the forefoot running technique, the foot remains in a supinated position during stance whereby heel strikers who over-pronate should consider converting to forefoot striking as an alternative to orthotic intervention.

Though, more studies are needed regarding the role of the forefoot running technique in suppressing or correcting biomechanical flaws, strong correlations of heel strike running with over-pronation and running injuries is well documented. This strengthens the belief that humans are shaped for forefoot running technique.

Thus, it seems reasonable to consider the forefoot running technique as ‘natural’ where abnormal movements of the foot may be exacerbated when deviating away from this natural form of running.

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References:

Subotnick, SI. (1989). Forces acting on the lower extremity. Sports Medicine of the Lower Extremity, pp 179-201. New York, Churchill, Livingstone.

Bretta Riches

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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