Understanding Your Foot Type & How It Affects You
Your feet are the foundation for your entire body. When this foundation is misaligned or is functioning poorly, the effects can be felt throughout the body - they can be shown either through muscle and joint pain or through serious injuries. Your foot type influences the way you walk, function and may also leave you to be more prone to certain injuries. Comprised of 26 bones held together by a structure of muscles, tendons and ligaments, the human foot is designed to support half of your body weight. It works as both a support and balance structure, providing motion for the rest of the body. When we talk about our foot type, we can generally categorise them based on the way in which the soles of our feet arch, curve and bear weight into three main types - pronated (flat feet), neutral (normal) and supinated (high arched). Over 75% of the population suffers from overpronation (severe flat-feet) or excessive supination (high arch feet), yet most of us are unaware of our own foot type and how it affects the rest of our body.
The illustration beside shows the many areas of the body affected by overpronation and oversupination, your ankles, knees, hip, lower back and shoulder.
By simply supporting the feet properly overall body alignment or posture can be improved, alleviating pain and helping the body to heal itself. (Picture ref. https://mass4d.com)
Pronation, Neutral And Supination
(Picture ref. https://www.spinalandsportscare.com.au)
Pronated (flat) A pronated foot has a less pronounced arch. You tend to roll inwards excessively and the arch of your foot generally collapses through the gait cycle. Your body’s weight is often pushed inwards and is less stable. You may find yourself wearing out the inside edge of your shoes very quickly. As your foot excessively pronated, your leg internally rotates, your knee becomes displaced, your thigh and hip also internally rotates, causing misalignment and unstable platform for the rest of the body and upper limbs to function from. Neutral (normal) Neutral feet is probably what we consider as the ideal foot type where the arch of the foot is neither too high or low. You are not rolling inwards or outwards too excessively throughout your gait. Your knee and hip is supported by your foot in neutral position, providing optimal functionality of the whole body throughout gait cycle. Supinated (high arched) A supinated foot is the exact opposite to a pronated foot, also known as underpronation. People with this foot type generally have increased stress on their lower limbs and back due to a decrease in shock absorbency. Similar to a pronated foot type but in total opposite, as your foot excessively supinated, the leg externally rotates, the knee displaces and the thigh and hip externally rotates, causing misalignment and creates an unstable platform. Understanding your foot type is crucial in improving your postural health, treating your pain or discomfort as well as preventing many potential complications. Speak to our podiatrist today and take necessary steps to put your best foot forward.