How Pronation Affects Your Running

Do you know what pronation is? Do you know that your pronation style has a huge effect on your running, and can put you at risk for foot injuries and shin splints?

Pronation indicates how your foot rolls towards your toes after your heel strikes the ground. This important movement helps to distribute your body weight evenly across your foot, absorbing shock and helping you push off the ground. Frequently, how your foot moves can be negatively affected by foot and gait problems.

Pronation Is Normal

If you are concerned that your feet are pronated, relax – it’s totally normal to pronate while you walk or run.

A “normal pronation,” also known as a neutral pattern, is a 15° roll inward. This amount distributes your weight across your foot most evenly and absorbs impact. Check your running shoes – if they have worn down in a pattern shaped like an “S” from your heel to your big toe, you probably have a neutral pronation.


Overpronation occurs when the foot rolls inward more than 15° and is usually found in runners with flat feet. With overpronation, you can’t stabilize your body well and your big toe has to work extra hard when you push off the ground. Your legs don’t move as they should because more of your body weight is shifted to the inside of your foot.

Runners who overpronate may experience calluses and bunions and can also have hip and knee problems too. Your running shoes will show extra wear at the big toe joint and on the inside of your heel.


Underpronation or supination is often found in runners with high arches. The heel strikes the ground and rolls in less than 15°, forcing the body’s weight to the outside of the foot. When running, most of the forward momentum is driven by the little toes, which makes this area at risk for stress fractures.

Select Your Best Running Shoe Based on Your Pronation Style

For running comfort and injury prevention, choose your running shoe based on your foot type:

  • Normal pronation – although you can wear almost any style shoe, look for one that offers a moderate amount of support.
  • Overpronation – look for as much arch support as you can get in a running shoe.
  • Underpronation – you’ll need shoes with plenty of cushioning that allows for a natural foot motion. Arch inserts can help if you feel that you need more support.

Foot care specialist Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM would be happy to evaluate your foot type and gait to help you select the right running shoe and minimize your chance of injury.

Don’t Increase Your Risk of a Running Injury – We Can Help!Board certified podiatrist Dr. Alexopoulos has the right experience to assess your pronation style and treat all types of foot and ankle problems and sports injuries. Many treatments and surgeries can be performed right here in our Chicago office. Please call our office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website.