Improving Pronation to Reduce Injury Risk

Every runner moves in a highly specific way and there is a strong relationship between foot/lower limb movement and overall body biomechanics which influences the forces going through different joints. The foot is the structure exposed to ground contact during running and must cope with all associated impacts and braking forces. During a long-running session, feet undergo a variety of shape and postural changes, which have been suggested to be a key factor contributing to running-related injuries. Therefore, determining how your feet move with every running step is crucial for establishing your overall running profile and helping to protect you from potential running-related injuries.

If running pain-free, there is no real need to try and change your running technique to modify your pronation levels. However, if your current values are not within the Neutral Pronation range, you have been suffering from lower leg pain/injury, and you are looking to correct Under or Over Pronation, then you can attempt the following approaches over a period of time and use the monitoring tools in NURVV Run to track the impact of the changes.

The most effective ways to improve pronation and foot function are:

  • Foot mobility and ankle strength exercises
  • Single leg balance and stability exercises
  • Flexibility or Yoga program
  • Footwear choices

1. Foot mobility and ankle strength exercises

Below are some examples of exercises that will help to strengthen foot, ankle and lower leg muscles:

  • ‘Short foot'

  • Ball picking
  • Towel curls
  • 'Foot inversion' and 'foot eversion' with a resistance band

  • Ankle plantarflexion' and 'ankle dorsiflexion' with a resistance band

  • Knee to wall' ankle mobility exercise

  • Calf raises (staircase)

2. Single leg balance and stability exercises

Many of the strength and conditioning exercises introduced in Technique Workouts/Improving Step Length to Run Faster will be a great addition for developing lower limb control and stability. Exercises such as single-leg deadlifts, split squats, lunges, and pistol squats will challenge intrinsic foot muscles and improve the ability to resist external loads during running steps. Single leg balance and stability exercises in the form of Yoga and Pilates will be useful too.

3. Flexibility or Yoga program

Long-term flexibility conditioning or regular participation in Yoga or Pilates is one way to improve general balance and joint range of motion. Runners may choose to focus on lower limb range of motion (particularly ankle dorsiflexion) and aim to ensure that their natural running motion is not restricted by muscle/joint stiffness. More information is found in Recovery for runners/Flexibility.

4. Footwear choices

Neutral Shoes

Neutral shoes are designed to offer maximum comfort and ensure that runner’s feet are appropriately held and are secured inside the shoe during running. The idea behind a neutral shoe is that it will allow the runner to maintain normal running style, without any interventions and interferences in the way both feet are moving as well as the rest of the body.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v10

Stability Running Shoes

These are designed to correct and minimize Over Pronation via a medial post (support on the inside of the shoe) to reduce motion of the foot and ankle inwards. Depending on the brand and the shoe model, the posting can be more or less supportive and placed directly under the midfoot (arch) or slightly behind it. It also tends to be introduced in a variety of ways (soft/dense foam, plastic,etc.) and because of that be more or less support runners differently.

New Balance 860v10

NURVV Run gives you unique insights and live coaching so you can run smarter

Learn more