WHAT IS PRONATION, AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Pronation is part of the natural movement of the human body and refers to the way your foot rolls inward for impact distribution upon landing. Understanding your pronation type can help you find a comfortable running shoe.

  • Underpronators (supinators) need a lot of cushioning to avoid impact injuries
  • Neutral pronators can wear a wide variety of shoes
  • Overpronators should look for support or structured cushioning shoes
  • How your foot contacts the ground: The outer side of the heel hits the ground at an increased angle with little or no normal pronation, causing a large transmission of shock through the lower leg.
  • Push Off: pressure on smaller toes on outside of foot
  • Injuries: plantar fasciitis, shin splints, ankle strain
  • Foot type: high arches

HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR PRONATION TYPE

TAKE A PRONATION TEST

Video Gait Analysis
During a video gait analysis, a video is taken of a runner’s feet while they running on a treadmill. The video footage is slowed down and analysed in detail by an ASICS professional, expert at a specialty running store, podiatrist, or physical therapist who will explain your running type and help you select the right pair of running shoes.

3D Foot Mapping
The most advanced version of video gait analysis is 3D foot mapping which, in addition to video, uses both lasers and micro cameras to create a highly detailed 3D image of the foot. A range of information is obtained from the scan, such as arch height and alignment of the Achilles with the leg. This is used to determine the right running shoe and provide additional insight into what may be causing recurrent injuries. 3D foot mapping is unique to ASICS and available to customers via ASICS Running Clinics or the ASICS London store, which is the only store that has the 3D foot mapping equipment in permanent residence.

Visit an ASICS Store for Expert Guidance
Receive individual product advice at any of our running stores. Trained staff members will be happy to assist you with fitting and diagnostic services.

CHECK WEAR PATTERNS ON YOUR SHOE

For Underpronators/Supinators:
The outside of your running shoes show the most wear
If you put your running shoes on a flat surface, you may notice a slight outward tilt

For Neutral Runners:
The soles of your running shoes show wear in an S-shaped pattern, from the outer (lateral) heel to the big toe
If you put your shoes on a flat surface, you may not notice any tilt

For Overpronators:
Extra wear on the inside of the heel and under the ball of the foot, especially the big toe
If you put your shoes on a flat surface, you may notice an inward tilt

CHOOSING THE RIGHT RUNNING SHOE

Once you understand your pronation type, you can find a shoe with the optimal amount of support and cushioning.

How to Determine Your Running Gait—and Why It Matters

Photo: Inti St Clair / Getty Images

In theory, running seems like the simplest form of exercise: You lace up your shoes and hit the pavement (or the treadmill). But without a proper understanding of your own running mechanics, you might be doing your body a disservice-and potentially setting yourself up for injury.

“It’s really common for runners to not actually know how their body is moving and where their body is landing,” says Claire Wood, who specializes in global performance running footwear at New Balance. That’s where the topic of running gait comes in.

So What Is Running Gait, Anyway?

Essentially, your gait is your manner of moving on foot. While everyone gets from point A to point B a little differently (think of how you might be able to spot a friend from a distance by the way she walks), understanding your gait-which is first developed, crazy enough, when you learn to crawl as a baby-and where you fall on the scale can be a useful tool for helping you run more adeptly.

“Everyone has their own signature to their gait, which allows them an efficient pattern of movement over ground,” says Mark Cucuzzella, M.D., who has designed running programs for the U.S. Air Force and is the author of Run for Your Life: How to Run, Walk, and Move Without Pain or Injury and Achieve a Sense of Well-Being and Joy. “Your posture, as well as your foot’s interface with the ground, are two critical things that make normal gait possible; if either of these are suboptimal, you will make compensations, which can, over the long term, add stress and strain to tissues not designed to deal with these stressors.” (See: How Weak Ankles and Poor Ankle Mobility Can Mess with Your Body)

Running gait is broken down into three types of pronation, or how your foot strikes the ground.

  • Neutral/normal pronation is when your foot comes in complete contact with the ground, rolling inward about 15 percent to absorb shock.
  • Underpronation or supination is when the outer part of your heel hits the ground first, and your foot rolls inward at less than 15 percent.
  • Overpronation occurs when your foot rolls inward more than 15 percent, which can cause stability issues with your foot and ankle.

So why should you even care? When shopping for running shoes (oh heyyy, 2018 Shape sneaker award winners), it’s helpful to have an understanding of your gait, as it will affect which shoes will enhance-rather than hinder-your performance.

How to Check Your Running Gait

If you’re really serious about running, the best way to zero in on your gait is to visit a specialty running store where an expert can analyze your form as you run on a treadmill. For beginners, though, home is a great place to start.

Recruit a friend: The easiest way to determine your gait is to have a friend watch you run from behind, says Wood. If your knees are coming in, you’re overpronating; if they’re turning out slightly, you’re underpronating. (Here are 10 things everyone can do to improve their running technique.)

Keep track of your aches and pains: It also helps to write down your running history. Record when you run and how you felt afterward: Did you have pain on the inside of your shins or knees? If so, you might be overpronating. Pain in your ankles can signal underpronation.

Check out your soles: Take note of the wear pattern on your current running shoes, too. Does the inside tip of the shoe look worn? If so, that’s a sign you’re overpronating. Underpronators will notice more wear on the outer edge of their shoes. You can also line up your well-worn kicks and look at them from behind-do they appear to tilt outward or inward, or sit flat?

Try the wet-foot method: The wet foot method involves making a wet footprint on a paper shopping bag or piece of heavy paper-but there’s a caveat. While this is an effective method for determining the shape of your arch, it doesn’t tell you everything about your gait. “People think a high arch means a natural gait and a low arch means an overpronated gait, but that’s not always true,” says Wood. For the wet foot method to work, you need to bend your knees significantly to see the results of weight on your arch.

Luckily, You Don’t have to Change Your Gait

Now that you know a little more about how you run, use that info to your advantage. Understanding your gait can help you run longer, stronger, and injury-free. Regardless of what you learn, there’s really no reason to try to correct your gait; science says the best running stride is the one that comes naturally to you. While podiatrists have pushed orthotics in the past to control pronation, a 2015 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found no evidence that foot pronation is a variable in running injuries. However, both Wood and Dr. Cucuzzella say they have seen runners experience pain in their shins, knees, hamstrings, and lower back correlating to wearing the wrong shoes for their gait.

When selecting a running shoe, “the principles of a shoe should be to allow your foot to behave like a foot under the conditions that you are using it in,” advises Dr. Cucuzzella. In his opinion, that means wide at the toes, no elevated heel, and not super soft, which allows the foot to have contact with the ground and give you optimum balance. “If you don’t think this is true, try a flat, wide shoe for a couple weeks and see how you feel.” (Or try these sneakers that actually monitor your running gait while you’re wearing them.)

Another thing to keep in mind, says Wood, is that you’re not the same size in running shoes as you are in a heel or slip-on shoe. “It’s not uncommon, especially in women, for their running shoes to be too small,” she says. A helpful tip: When trying on shoes, make sure you have a thumbnail of room from your longest toe to the top of the shoe. (Heads up: There are a bunch of other things to keep in mind when buying sneakers if you have flat feet.)

  • By By Kelsey Ogletree

What is Running Pronation and Gait Analysis?

CAN I GET MORE HELP WITH GAIT ANALYSIS AND RUNNING PRONATION?

3. Ask our experts
We also offer a Gait Analysis service so you can send us a short video that shows you running a short distance at your normal pace. Please do this with and without shoes, then based on your answers to a few questions (see below) we would be able to suggest some shoes that may be suitable for your needs*.

Please ensure the video is under 10MB, is a good enough quality to be able to see your foot running either on a treadmill or in a straight line away from the camera so that we can see the back of your legs, then running towards the camera so that we can see the front of your feet.
Send us your video and answer the following questions for your free digital running gait analysis*:

a. What trainers are you currently using?
b. What mileage are you doing and on what surface?
c. How long have you had your current shoes?
d. Do you have any recurring issues?

Email our experts now
*Please be aware, this is not medical advice and in more severe instances, seeking professional medical advice would be recommended.

What Is a Gait Analysis?

Many people think gait analysis is all about—and only about—someone watching you walk or run and evaluating your feet and your shoes. How many of you have done the following? A clerk in your local running store watches you jog, and suggests a pair of shoes that are more stable, or more neutral, or more cushioned, or are the type that “forces” you to land mid-foot. Voila! Your biomechanical problems are solved. This is what most people know and have come to accept as gait analysis.

Let’s examine the most common misconceptions about gait analysis, and create a real picture of what it is, what it isn’t, and how it can be helpful to you as an athlete. True gait analysis is not a generic exercise, but is a scientifically-based and technically-precise process. It is highly individualized, and reveals a lot about how you will hold up to training and, ultimately, perform.

What Is a Gait Analysis?

When we conduct a gait analysis, your feet are only one small piece of your biomechanical puzzle. What happens to your feet is merely part of a holistic, whole body, integrated movement pattern. Running, like most other whole-body activities (such as swimming or many field sports), is essentially a unique way of moving. When an athlete is analyzed statically, dynamically, and then running on the treadmill during a gait analysis, it serves to provide a unique, personal movement “map.” That “map” reveals the programming of everything happening within your body—from kinestetic awareness and habit, to individual levels of mobility, stability, flexibility, and functional strength. The analysis of all these different elements taken together is what creates a complete picture of a person’s gait. In essence, it is far more than just gait analysis. It is true “movement” analysis.

More: Midfoot Strike Vs. Balls of the Feet

Gait analysis uncovers precisely how your body is moving. Every activity, even standing still, represents a unique movement pattern. That pattern is bred from your habits and lifestyle, as well as your body’s mobility, stability, flexibility and strength. Every action you take—running stride, pedal stroke, swim stroke, etc.—represents that unique movement pattern. If your movements include compensations (and they likely do), gait analysis can pinpoint the areas in the body where these losses of efficiency originate.

More: Overpronation: Why It Happens and What to Do About It

Athletes get into trouble when major compensation, which often leads to true dysfunction, continues for extended periods of time.

How Compensations Affect Your Gait

Compensations in the body lead to imbalance around the joints. The larger prime movers (hamstrings, glutes, quads, etc.) become less active, and end up contributing less than their fair share of the work in moving us around. The smaller/tiny stabilizing muscles are forced to step in (compensate) and do the work of the larger, more powerful prime movers. The stabilizers are taxed day in and day out, mile after mile. Over time they end up, in a word, fried. Shredded. The wear and tear on the stabilizers greatly compromises recovery and your ability to train consistently. In short, this scenario is an injury waiting to happen. We see it over and over again.

Discovering the inefficiencies and compensations unique to you is the power of what true gait analysis can reveal. Once uncovered, these inefficient and costly “energy leaks” that rob you of power and free speed can be addressed. This cannot be overstated: Improper, unbalanced movement limits your ultimate potential and puts you at an exponentially-increased risk of injury.

More: Tips for Energy-Efficient Running

In short, gait analysis is about you, and your personal and unique way of moving. Unless the underlying causes of your dysfunctional movement patterns are addressed, your patterns won’t change, and, thus, the risk of injury won’t improve. Gait analysis is about looking at your entire body as a holistic organism—a single amazing unit. It goes far beyond an untrained eye watching you jog in a pair of sneakers.

More: 4 Fast Tweaks to Run Like the Elites

Sign up for your next race.

Gait Analysis Testing

This is a sophisticated piece of software that is used in many sporting activities for assessment of biomechanics, style and skills, in order to improve performance.
A video is recorded of you running for a short period on a treadmill and then a slow motion detailed analysis is performed by the Runnersworld shoe expert to show, and explain to you, your biomechanics.
We can show you the comparisons running in different models of shoes, with ‘before and after’ videos playing side by side on the computer screen. The video playback will show you what type of runner you are: you could be an overpronator, a neutral runner or a supinator.
Where to go ?
You can go to any Runnersworld store for professional video gait analysis – all of our staff are fully-trained and many of them have additional sports qualifications. View our store locator to find your nearest store.
If you’ve decided to go to one of our stores, then you may find our Top Tips when shopping for running shoes article of use.
Come and meet us in storeTop Tips

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About

Why Are You Running? refers to a clip from the Nigerian film Pretty Liars 1 in which a woman over-dramatically runs away from a man in a car. The man then gets out of the car and yells “Why are you running?” The clip became remixed in several Vine and YouTube videos, and became associated with the Ugandan Knuckles meme, as gangs of Ugandan Knuckles in VR Chat would repeat the phrase.

Origin

Pretty Liars 1 is a Nigerian (“Nollywood”) film from the early 2010s. Though the exact release date is unknown, a post on Nollywood Forever from March 14th, 2011 marks the release year as 2010. In the clip which would later be remixed, a woman runs away from a man in a car whom she owes money too. As she runs away, the man gets out of the car and shouts “Why are you running?”

Spread

A clip of the scene was uploaded to Vine on July 23rd, 2016 by user sam iglesia, gaining over 1.7 million loops (shown below).

The Vine was then reuploaded to YouTube on July 6th, 2016, gaining over 2 million views. On August 16th, an edit with Donald Trump’s campaign announcement was uploaded to YouTube by Prodankton Studios, gaining over 287,000 views (shown below, left). On the 17th, a compilation of Vines using the moment was posted to YouTube by YaBoiDJ, gaining over 499,000 views (shown below, right).

The clip saw a revival with the influx of Ugandan Knuckles memes. In one of the most popular videos spreading Ugandan Knuckles posted January 1st, 2018 by YouTuber Syrmor, the clan of Knuckles players chase down another player while chanting “Why are you running?” (shown below, left). On January 5th, 2018, YouTuber Kill yo Lol uploaded a video remixing the original “Why Are You Running?” clip with the Ugandan Knuckles character, gaining over 400,000 views (shown below, right).

The clip saw a small revival several months later on YouTube. On February 18th, 2018, YouTuber african comedy uploaded another Vine compilation which gained over 14,000 views (shown below, left). On the 16th, YouTuber Dyllon Freeman uploaded a clip crossing the scene with Naruto, gaining over 14,000 views (shown below, right).

Various Examples

Know Your Meme Store

External References

Nollywood Forever – Pretty Liars

Sadly, the camera never lies, and while Kerry tells me I hold a good postural position and seem relaxed running, as always there is room for improvement. In common with many runners, my cadence – the number of steps taken per minute – would benefit from increasing to 184bpm. A high cadence is desirable, says Kerry, as it encourages the foot to land underneath the hips rather than overstriding, which causes the foot lands too far in front of the knee and encourages heel striking – and increases injury risk.

Good form can also make the difference between being a winner and a runner-up, as Meb Keflezighi proved in this year’s Boston Marathon. In an interview with the Running Times, Keflezighi admitted: “If it wasn’t for form, I don’t think I would have won. I think about my feet, where they’re going to land. My hips, knees, legs, arms, neck. Where my head should be positioned. Where my chin should be going uphill, downhill.”

Kerry isn’t surprised. “By simply practising technique as you would if you played tennis, you will become faster and more efficient, but most of all you increase your chances of staying injury-free,” he says.

To help reinforce good technique, we headed to the track for a lesson. Before we get started, we were asked to take our shoes and socks off and to lightly bounce in time with a metronome set at 184bpm to help reinforce proprioception – the body’s awareness of itself – and higher cadence. Proprioception is dulled, says Kerry, when we run in overly supportive trainers or listening to music, as we can’t feel the ground or hear how we are running. Noisier runners may find they naturally run much more quietly by simply removing their headphones and being more aware of how they are moving.

For an example of good running form, look no further than the legendary Ethiopian distance runner Haile Gebrselassie. “Haile keeps a nice relaxed upper body and his feet lands close to the body to allow the ground reaction force (GRF) to travel through the body without causing damage,” says Kerry. “The foot strike is on the forefoot, allowing the use of the biggest joint in the foot to give a full spring off the big toe, reducing the coupling time . His trailing leg does not fall too far behind, avoiding wasting energy to get it back in front for the next stride.” Haile’s only running quirk is his infamous crooked arm position – the result of a childhood spent running six miles to and from school carrying a schoolbag.

Back at the track (with shoes back on), the class was led through a series of warm-up and running drills to encourage good form, a relaxed posture and a midfoot strike. Simple drills – such as two-footed jumps over a row of small hurdles to train the mind to increase cadence and marching, while tucking the heel up towards the glutes to encourage the knees to drive higher and land underneath the body – proved to be surprisingly effective when we put the method in to practice during a lap of the track. While good running technique won’t happen overnight, incorporating a couple of simple running drills into your routine just once or twice a week will help retrain the body and mind. As your running mechanics improve, muscle memory will adapt and running in this style will feel natural.

The verdict? In the three weeks since the running class, I’ve ditched my iPod for the majority of my runs and focused hard on increasing my cadence and landing midfoot. The result? The lower backache I often used to get after a long run has gone. There is still work to do, but I’m happy that I sound a bit less like a stampeding baby elephant when I run.

The Run Doctor’s three top tips for a better running technique

1. Rhythm
Otherwise know as cadence. A high proportion of runners will be running at 160bpm. This encourages heel striking and poor posture. The correct cadence for runners is 184bpm. This will help with the foot strike and allow you to remain in a good postural position.

Fix: Setting a metronome to 184bpm and trying to run in time with the beat to increase your cadence. Over time, a higher cadence will feel natural and you won’t need the timer.

2. Posture
Your posture is absolutely the most important thing when you run.

Fix: As you run, keep your head and chest upright and relax as much as possible; the whole of your upper body should remain stable but not be tense.

3. Relax
Staying relaxed is key, as this will allow you to enjoy your running and not put too much pressure through the joints of the body.

Fix: A good warm-up to loosen the body will help you run in a relaxed manner. Ease into the run slowly, then build speed.

• Carys Matthews is a journalist and social media manager for the London Marathon. She writes about running at carysmatthews.com.

• Visit therundoctor.co.uk for more information on running workshops.

How to determine pronation

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