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What is Pronation & Underpronation Of The Foot?

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Do you often experience discomfort or pain in your feet while walking or running? If so, it could be due to pronation or underpronation. Understanding these terms is essential for maintaining good foot health and preventing future problems. In this article, we will delve into what pronation and underpronation of the foot are, and how they can affect your overall well-being. Pronation refers to the natural inward rolling motion of the foot during each step. It helps absorb shock and distribute the impact evenly. However, excessive pronation, also known as overpronation, can result in instability and increase the risk of injuries. On the other hand, underpronation, also called supination, occurs when the foot rolls outward instead of inward. This can lead to inadequate shock absorption and potentially cause various foot conditions. Understanding your foot's pronation type is crucial for choosing the right footwear and adopting the appropriate exercise routine. Stay tuned as we explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for pronation and underpronation of the foot, helping you make informed decisions to support your foot health.

Understanding Foot Pronation & Underpronation

Pronation refers to the natural inward rolling motion of the foot during each step. It helps absorb shock and distribute the impact evenly. This motion allows the foot to adapt to various surfaces and helps maintain stability. The arch of the foot acts as a natural shock absorber, and pronation ensures that the forces from walking or running are evenly distributed.


However, excessive pronation, also known as overpronation, can result in instability and increase the risk of injuries. Overpronation occurs when the foot rolls too far inward, causing the arch to collapse excessively. This can lead to issues such as flat feet, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and Achilles tendonitis. It can also affect the alignment of the lower limbs, leading to knee, hip, and lower back pain.

Causes and Symptoms of Pronation

Various factors can contribute to overpronation. One common cause is having flat feet, where the arches are naturally lower or nonexistent. People with flat feet are more prone to overpronation as their feet are less able to absorb shock effectively. Another cause can be weak or imbalanced muscles in the feet and lower leg. When these muscles are not strong enough to support the foot's arch, it can lead to excessive rolling inward.


Symptoms of overpronation can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience no symptoms at all, while others may face significant discomfort. Common signs of overpronation include pain or tenderness along the inside of the foot, ankle, or lower leg. Other symptoms may include arch pain, knee pain, and lower back pain. It's important to pay attention to these signs, as untreated overpronation can lead to chronic foot and leg problems.

Causes And Symptoms of Pronation

The Impact of Pronation On Foot Health

Understanding your foot's pronation type is crucial for choosing the right footwear and adopting the appropriate exercise routine. Wearing shoes that provide proper support and stability can help alleviate the negative effects of overpronation. Look for shoes with good arch support, firm midsoles, and motion control features. These features can help control the inward rolling motion of the foot and provide stability during movement.


When left unaddressed, overpronation can lead to a variety of foot problems. It can put excessive stress on the ligaments and tendons in the foot, leading to inflammation and pain. The misalignment caused by overpronation can also affect the alignment of the knees, hips, and lower back, leading to pain and discomfort in these areas. Over time, untreated overpronation can contribute to the development of conditions such as bunions and hammertoes.

Types of Pronation: Overpronation, Neutral Pronation, and Underpronation

Apart from overpronation, there are two other types of pronation: neutral pronation and underpronation. Neutral pronation is considered the ideal foot motion during walking or running. When the foot pronates to a moderate extent and the arch maintains a normal position, it helps absorb shock and distribute the forces evenly. This type of pronation is the most efficient and least likely to cause foot problems.


Underpronation, also called supination, occurs when the foot rolls outward instead of inward. It is the opposite of overpronation. Underpronation is less common than overpronation and can lead to inadequate shock absorption. When the foot does not roll inward enough, the forces of impact are concentrated on smaller areas of the foot, such as the outer edge. This can potentially cause various foot conditions and increase the risk of injuries.

Identifying Underpronation: Signs and Symptoms

If you have underpronation, you may notice certain signs and symptoms. One common symptom is excessive wear on the outer edge of your shoes. The outer part of the sole may wear down faster than the rest of the shoe. You may also experience pain or discomfort in the ankle, foot, or lower leg due to the inadequate shock absorption. Other signs may include ankle sprains, stress fractures, and calluses on the outer edge of the foot.


It's important to note that underpronation can occur naturally or be a result of biomechanical factors. Some individuals have high arches, which can make it more challenging for the foot to roll inward effectively. Tight calf muscles or imbalanced lower leg muscles can also contribute to underpronation. It's essential to identify and address underpronation early to prevent further complications and maintain foot health.

Common Foot Problems Associated With Underpronation

Underpronation can lead to various foot problems if left unaddressed. The inadequate shock absorption caused by underpronation can increase the risk of stress fractures, as the forces of impact are concentrated on smaller areas of the foot. Ankle sprains are also more common in individuals with underpronation, as the foot's stability is compromised. Additionally, calluses and corns may develop on the outer edge of the foot due to the excess pressure placed on that area.


Individuals with underpronation may also be more prone to developing plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia, a thick band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes, can become strained and inflamed due to the abnormal foot mechanics associated with underpronation. This can result in heel pain and discomfort, making it challenging to engage in daily activities or exercise.

Underpronation of the Foot

Treatment and Prevention of Underpronation

If you have underpronation, there are various treatment and prevention strategies that can help alleviate symptoms and reduce the risk of further complications. One key aspect is choosing the right footwear. Look for shoes with a cushioned sole and good shock absorption properties. These shoes can help compensate for the inadequate natural shock absorption of underpronation. Arch support and stability features are also essential to provide the necessary support for your foot.


Orthotic inserts can be particularly beneficial for individuals with underpronation. These inserts can provide additional arch support and help correct the foot's alignment during movement. Custom orthotics, such as Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics, are designed to specifically address your individual foot needs. They can help distribute the forces of impact more evenly, reduce excessive pressure on certain areas, and provide the necessary support for your underpronating foot.


Aside from footwear, it's important to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your feet and lower legs. Exercises such as calf stretches, toe curls, and ankle rolls can help improve the flexibility and strength of these muscles. Physical therapy may also be recommended to address any imbalances or weaknesses that contribute to underpronation.

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics for Pronation & Underpronation

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics are a popular choice for individuals with pronation and underpronation issues. These orthotics are custom-made to fit your feet and address your specific foot concerns. By providing the necessary support and alignment correction, Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics can help alleviate pain, reduce the risk of injuries, and improve overall foot function.


The process of obtaining Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics starts with a consultation and assessment of your foot mechanics. A trained professional will evaluate your foot alignment and discuss your symptoms and concerns. They will then create custom orthotics that are tailored to your foot's unique needs. These orthotics can be worn in a variety of footwear, ensuring that you have the necessary support and comfort throughout the day.

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics for Pronation
Conclusion: Taking Care of Your Feet and Finding The Right Support

Pronation and Underpronation are common foot issues that can affect your overall well-being. Understanding your foot's pronation type and addressing any abnormalities or imbalances is crucial for maintaining good foot health. By wearing appropriate footwear, engaging in strengthening exercises, and considering orthotic solutions such as Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics, you can support your feet and reduce the risk of pain, discomfort, and future complications.


Remember to listen to your body and seek professional advice if you experience persistent foot pain or discomfort. Taking proactive steps to address pronation or underpronation can make a significant difference in your foot health and overall quality of life. Invest in proper support, take care of your feet, and enjoy pain-free walking or running. Your feet deserve the best care possible. Get in contact with us at Bilt Labs to get started. Take our free quiz today to find out which orthotic type is best for your feet. 

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about your health. If you have any questions about your health or are experiencing any medical problems, please contact your doctor or other healthcare provider immediately. Do not delay seeking medical attention based on the information provided in this article.