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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Overpronation in Runners 

“Overpronation” has been some sort of buzz word in the running community for a long time, but is generally a meaningless term. It is widely used to wrongly prescribe a specific running shoe (ie motion control). The real problem with the term is that it is a substantial oversimplification of what is actually happening to the foot and the use of the term seems to have made experts in it by some health professionals, running shoe sales people, coaches and even runners who have no sort of medical or related qualification. The blogosphere is also full of non-experts pontificating on myths of overpronation. It is easy to see that they have no real understanding of biomechanics and foot function and what they write is easy to deconstruct. There are numerous reasons why a foot may overpronate, so to advocate one method to treat overpronation over another is just plain ignorance of what the causes of it are. Muscle strengthening will only correct overpronation if a muscle weakness is the cause. Muscle stretching will only correct overpronation if a tight muscle is the cause. Gait retraining will only correction overpronation if there is an abnormality in the gait amenable to gait retraining. Foot orthotics will only correct overpronation is there is an alignment issue with the bones. If you have overpronation, do yourself a favor and see someone who actually understands what it is, rather than listen to the unscientific pontifications of self-proclaimed gurus who just happen to have a blog. For more detail on this, I blogged about it here. There are so many overpronation myths to bust and so little times to deal with them!

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