Running places a lot of physical force on feet and ankles, but your lower limbs are equipped to handle this naturally. Part of the way they are able to handle the force is through a biomechanical process known as pronation. If your feet pronate correctly—more on that in a moment—running is generally not going to be bad for your feet.
Pronation is a normal biomechanical process a foot goes through during the ground portion of a step. In this process, the foot actually rotates inward approximately fifteen percent (in a “normal” pronation pattern). If your foot either rotates excessively or insufficiently, areas of the foot end up handing extra force loads they aren’t intended to handle.
Over pronation or supination (basically, not enough pronation) are both less-than-ideal, but there are ways to help with them. The running shoes you choose are important – as some pairs help control motion (for overpronators), whereas other provide extra comfort (for those who supinate).
Beyond footwear, we can help by prescribing orthotic devices (if you would benefit from them). These shoe inserts can do a more customized job of regulating motion and providing cushioning.
Regular exercise is essential for optimal foot health. Running can be a great choice, particularly if you are smart about it. The best course of action is to cross-train, which means incorporating both running and low-impact exercises (cycling, swimming, yoga, etc.) into your workout program. Not sure what is best for you and your lower limbs? Come see us – we can help!