U is for Underpronate

November 7, 2012

Underpronate is when the foot either does not pronate enough or supinates too much during gait.

Underpronation, also known as supination, is a term used to describe a foot biomechanical pattern in which the foot rolls outward or onto the outer edge during the gait cycle. It is the opposite of overpronation, which is an excessive inward rolling of the foot.

When someone underpronates, the weight is primarily borne on the outer side of the foot, especially the lateral (outer) edge. This can lead to poor shock absorption and an uneven distribution of forces during walking or running. Underpronation can be associated with several factors, including:

  1. High arches: Individuals with high arches are more likely to underpronate because the foot has a reduced ability to absorb shock due to the rigid arch structure.
  2. Tight muscles and ligaments: Tight calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) and plantar fascia can limit the foot’s ability to roll inward properly during the gait cycle.
  3. Foot structure: Certain foot types, such as a rigid or supinated foot, may predispose individuals to underpronation.
  4. Improper footwear: Wearing shoes that lack adequate cushioning, stability, or arch support can exacerbate underpronation and increase the risk of foot discomfort and injuries.

Underpronation is not inherently problematic for everyone. Some individuals with mild underpronation may not experience any symptoms or issues. However, for others, underpronation can lead to various foot problems, including:

  1. Foot pain: The uneven distribution of forces can cause increased stress on certain areas of the foot, leading to pain, discomfort, or the development of conditions such as plantar fasciitis or shin splints.
  2. Ankle and lower leg injuries: Underpronation can increase the risk of ankle sprains, stress fractures, and other overuse injuries in the lower leg due to poor shock absorption and stability.
  3. Reduced efficiency: The foot’s inability to roll inward properly can affect the natural motion and efficiency of the gait cycle, potentially impacting performance in activities like running or walking.


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