what is overpronation

What Is Overpronation In Running?

Are you uncertain just what “overpronation” means in running? Unsure if the pain in your feet and joints are caused by it? If you answered “yes” to either or both of them, then you’re not alone.

Especially if you’re an avid runner, it can be difficult to figure out all of the technical aspects when it comes to running, from knowing how to purchase the right shoes to figuring out your limits for distance and speed workouts. Overpronation is just one part of the entire running process.

That being said, we’re here to answer your questions regarding just what is overpronation in running. In this article, we’ll break down each of the aspects to help you determine and prepare for it should it happen to you.


What is overpronation?

To start off, the process of pronating is when body weight is transferred from heel to the front of the foot, whether it happens during running or walking. Naturally, the foot rolls inward as it takes place. It’s a process that helps to support the foot by providing shock absorption.

Hence, the term “overpronation” literally means to overdo the pronation, by rolling your foot inward too much and causing the arch of the foot to flatten. As a result, it gives you what is commonly known as “flat feet.

What are the differences between overpronation, pronation, and underpronation?

In order to distinguish the differences among the three foot types listed above, the most important thing is to look at how your arches are when you run or walk. Generally speaking, here are the differences to look out for:

  • Overpronation is when your feet excessively roll inward, thereby leading to the flattening of the foot’s arch.
  • Pronation not only refers to the overall concept of transferring weight from heel to the front of the foot, but can also mean that your feet roll in at a decent angle: not too little and not too much inward. This is the ideal foot type to have, as it demonstrates a medium arch.
  • Underpronation, also known as “supination,” is the opposite of overpronation in which the foot doesn’t pronate enough; instead, it relies more on the heel than the toes to push off with each stride. This often happens in runners with high arches.

For a video on each of the differences in foot type, check it out here: 

What are the consequences to overpronating?

When you overpronate, it causes extra stress on the foot and joints of the body. Since you’re exaggerating the running mechanics, it leads to problems with running form and shock absorption.

As a consequence, stress-induced injuries are likely to happen. You might develop runner’s knee, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, or plantar fasciitis, all of which can lead to chronic problems if you continue to run on them.

How can you tell if you’re overpronating?

You already know that overpronation is usually caused by having flat feet, but how can you tell if you have it? While there are plenty of diagnostic tests you can do at local sports stores (free of cost), you can also do it yourself at home.

Take the wet test, as we highlight in our article HERE

Essentially, seeing the outline of your footprint on a piece of paper will help you determine if you have flat feet; you will notice that the arch of your footprint is completely filled out, meaning you rely a lot on your arch when running.

What should you do to prevent and/or treat it?

While it’s possible to control your running gait, it’s extremely difficult to completely change your usual pattern, especially if you naturally tend to overpronate. Although there’s not many ways to prevent it, there are, however, ways to treat it should you get injured from it:

  • Take time off. If you’re starting to feel pain, then the best thing to do is to cease strenuous activities to allow time for your body to recover. Choosing to run through it will make it worse, as well as take a longer time for your body to get better.
  • Get good running shoes. Besides having flat feet, overpronation can be exacerbated by wearing the wrong type of shoe. Finding a solid running shoe with enough cushion and arch support can help correct your foot’s gait and make it less likely to injuries.

For some ideas on what type of running shoe you should get, check out the same article we wrote "The Best Running Shoes For The Awesome Runner"

  • Do some strengthening exercises. Sometimes, it’s not just the foot that’s causing problems, but also weak hips and posture. You can supplement your workouts with some resistance-training exercises to strengthen areas of your hips, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.

Overall, it’s not just about running faster, but also getting stronger; in the end, it will all work out for the best!

For some exercises to help with your flat feet, check out this video here:

Take away message (Conclusion)

Running is an easy sport, but it’s also complicated when it comes to figuring out what is and whether you overpronate or not. Here’s a quick list to recap:

  • Know that overpronation happens when the foot rolls inward too much, thereby putting extra stress on the lower extremities of the body.
  • Determine if you overpronate by taking the “wet test” to see your foot’s shape.
  • Take time off to recover from injuries caused by overpronation, as well as consider switching out your running shoes for more fitting ones.

Have any questions? Please comment down below!

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