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Your Alignment: How Pronation Affects Your Athletics

Getting the tires aligned on your car periodically is an important part of vehicle maintenance. Proper alignment allows your car to drive smoothly and function at its best, after all. Alignment is just as important for your feet, too—especially if you’re an athlete! Correct foot alignment allows your lower limbs to function at their best. That’s why pronation can have such a profound effect on your athletic performance.

Pronation is a natural part of your foot function when you walk or take a step. It’s the process of your arch rolling inward slightly to absorb the impact of your footfall and shift your weight appropriately so you can push off the ground again. That’s why it affects running and athletics in general, particularly when you pronate too much or not enough.

Normal pronation allows your foot to function correctly when you’re active. Overpronation or under-pronation—also called supination—change how your foot functions, too, but in a way that can cause injuries and pain:

Overpronation – Your arch rotates too far inward and collapses down when you roll through your foot. This is especially common for people with naturally flat feet. Most of your weight is placed unevenly on the inside of your foot and the first few toes. This strains your arch, ankle, and lower legs over time, because your feet are not correctly aligned when you step. Eventually you may be prone to arch pain, shin splints, tarsal tunnel syndrome, heel pain, and even bunions.

Supination – Your arch doesn’t roll inward enough, directing too much of your body weight to the outside of your feet and small toes. This is most common with people who have high arches or tight Achilles tendons. Because your foot is not aligned properly when you strike the ground, the hard impacts don’t get absorbed correctly. You become more vulnerable to ankle injuries and sprains, Achilles tendon problems, knee pain, and iliotibial band syndrome, among other things.

Knowing your pronation style can help you know how accommodate it if it’s causing problems for your sports or other activities. If you’re struggling with overuse issues when you’re active, you might want to check your pronation. Our team at Absolute Foot Care Specialists in Las Vegas are happy to help you identify your gait and use that to help you with your sports. Make an appointment online, or call us at (702) 839-2010.

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