The Three Types of Foot Strikes: Pronation, Supination, and Neutraladmin
Did you know that the way you walk may affect the overall health of your feet? Everybody walks a little different, and the way your foot lands on the ground, or “strikes” the ground when you step, can really help or hinder your ability to walk or run long distances. Knowing your foot strike will help you get the right shoes and equipment to ensure you have happy feet.
Type 1: Pronation
The first type of foot strike is called Pronation. If you have ever been caught “flat-footed,” then you have been caught pronating. Pronation occurs when your arch flattens on your strike, causing your foot and ankle to roll inward. This causes stress on the ankles and can create shin splints and cause other lower leg issues. A quick way to tell if you over pronate is by checking how the soles of your shoes wear out. If they are worn out on the inside of the sole, then it is likely that you are a pronator.
Type 2: Neutral
A Neutral foot strike occurs when you neither over pronate nor supinate. It is when the foot strikes in an effective, efficient manner and typically leads to the least amount of injuries while running or walking.
Type 3: Supination
The third type of strike is called Supination. If you guessed it is the opposite of pronation, than you’re absolutely right. Supination is when, instead of being flat-footed, you have high arches. When your foot strikes the ground, much of the cushion of the foot is lost. The foot doesn’t flatten at all on impact, and there is little shock absorption. The affect is an outward roll and can cause plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, and other foot and leg injuries.
For a more updated description of determining your foot type, visit our new blog post on the topic.
So which type are you? A popular (and easy) way to test which strike you have is the “Wet Test.” You can do this at home, and it only takes some water, paper, and about five minutes of your time.
First, lay out the paper; a dark color often works best. Try a brown paper bag from your local grocery store. Get the bottom of your foot wet by stepping in a bowl or pan of water or your bathtub. Then step onto the paper and step off. Examine your wet footprint. Based on the amount of foot print you see, you will be able to tell your strike. If much of the sole of your foot is visible – almost like it was flat – then you are a pronator. If the opposite holds true, and just the outside edge of your sole appears, then you are likely a supinator. If it looks to be well balanced, you probably have an efficient neutral strike.
You can always trust the professionals. Any running store employee worth their paycheck should be able to help you determine how your foot lands. Also, a podiatrist or other foot care professional can help make the determination. By knowing which type of foot you have, you can ensure that you have the proper shoes and orthotics to avoid pain and discomfort. Your feet with be a lot happier.