How Does Pronation, or Low or Flat Arches Affect Movement?

Pronation impacts movement

How Does Pronation, or Low or Flat Arches Affect Movement?


Your feet are possibly the most important, and often overlooked, equipment you use every day. How your feet strike the ground when you are walking or running, and if there is a roll in your step is key to understanding pronation.

Pronation affects your movement and your overall health. Pronated movement is normal, and is good, if it is within an expected range of movement. However, over or under pronation may cause pain and injury, or limit your favorite activities. Read on to find out more about types of pronation and why it is important to know how your feet strike the ground when you walk.


What is Pronation?

Pronation is the side to side movement of your foot as you walk or run. The body undergoes a series of movements with every step you take. The shape of your foot and the way you move work to balance your body, absorb shock, and propel you forward when you walk or run.

Ankle Pronation Position CC Ducky2315, CC BY-SA 3.0

Why is it important to know how feet move?

The way your feet work impact not only how you move, but how you feel. Proper pronation helps to push you off the ground as you take each step. Did you know it is very rare for a person’s stride to be perfectly balanced? An overwhelming 99% of the population has some degree of over or under pronation.


Types of Pronation

There are three types of pronation, and varying degrees within each type. Pronation can be a result of genetics or may result from injury or over time.

Normal/Neutral Pronation

Everyone has at least some pronation when they move. For those with neutral pronation, the foot rolls inward about 15% to absorb shock and maintain balance.

Underpronation (supination)

For those who under pronate, the foot does not roll inward, but rather toward the outside of the foot. Underpronation may cause Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and IT band syndrome. Supination can be painful and affect movement and balance. Shoes that properly support the foot and arch are recommended for underpromotion.


Overpronation occurs when your foot rolls inward more than 15% of the neutral movement range. This usually occurs in those with flat feet, fallen arches, or very flexible feet. If you overpronate you are prone to overuse injuries, as well as hip, knee and back pain, corns and calluses and should wear protective footwear. Wearing supportive shoes can help to reduce the tension overpronation causes on feet and legs.


How to Identify Your Pronation 


Check the wear of your shoes by looking at the pattern on the sole and insole. Overpronators will see more wear near the big toe and ball of the foot and along the inner side of the heel and forefoot. Supinators will see more wear on the outside edge of the shoe. Neutral pronators show wear on the ball of the foot with an even wear pattern in the middle of the shoe.


This test works by showing you your current step imprint. Wet your feet and walk on a concrete (or cardboard surface) to make a water stamp of your step. A thin midsection is typical of neutral pronation. If you overpronate, your footprint will be wide in the middle because more of you foot strikes the ground. Those who supinate will have a light midsection because most of their weight is felt on the outer edge of the foot.


If you suspect you may over or underpronate, there are simple solutions available.  While it is tempting to self-diagnose your foot problems online, serious foot pain deserves a full medical analysis to determine an exact diagnosis.


Read more about how Quadrastep Custom Orthotics can relieve foot pain here. QUADRASTEP® is a more affordable alternative to custom shoe inserts, and are carefully designed to help with a variety of conditions.


We recommend you see your family doctor or a podiatrist first, and then let Peterson Shoes be your partner to provide the footwear and foot care solution they suggest. Schedule an appointment or stop in to Peterson Shoes to speak with a certified pedorthist for foot care solutions, Including help choosing this right shoes and insoles for your feet.



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