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Coaches Blog

Foot Health for Better Running Part 3: Pronation

In this third entry (and future posts), I will review common ways to treat various conditions I identified in my previous blog about foot health.


Pronation

I'll only discuss pronation as a secondary issue due to a lack of strength in the muscles that stabilize your feet. Other causes of overpronation, like "flat foot," require a consultation with an orthopedist who can prescribe individualized treatment.


Exercises

An exercise plan that includes these exercises can help to increase the strength of the muscles that stabilize your feet:

  • Heel stretches

  • Tennis ball rolls

  • Calf raises

  • Toe raises

Perform these exercises 2-3 nonconsecutive times per week. Start with two sets of 12-15 reps in the first week. Increase to 15-20 reps the second week. The third week will have 3 sets of 12-15 reps, and the fourth week will have 3 sets of 15-20 reps.


A maintenance program will last at least 6 months. Some studies have shown that most of the participants in an exercise program improved their gait after this period.


Neuromuscular Control

Bad technique during exercise is prevalent. Swimming coaches focus a lot on technique correction. Running technique requires the same attention to detail, not only in the major running techniques like position, strides, arms position, etc. but also in how your feet land on the ground.


Pronation during running is often caused by the incorrect (and usually involuntary) way your foot lands, not because of an anatomical or mechanical issue. The next time you are running:

  1. Look at your feet and double-check the way they are landing.

  2. If you notice your feet pronating inward as you step, focus on correcting this.

  3. Try to do it with very short and slow strides.

If you saw that both feet landed correctly because you were paying attention to each step, try to perform the following exercises:

  • 5 x 100-meter run focusing on excellent form (watch how your feet land), 30-seconds of active recovery between each 100-meters.

  • Progress the short runs up to 20 x 100 and lower the active rest to 5-10 seconds. Continue to focus on excellent form and foot landing.

This method aims to overcome some level of pronation or bad technique during running, using the 4 steps we need to do to achieve a change in how we perform a movement.

1.-We perform it incorrectly unconsciously.

2.-We perform it incorrectly consciously.

3.-We perform it correctly consciously.

4.- We perform it correctly unconsciously.


We must perform at least 1000-2000 correct movements to achieve this change, so we need patience, but the outcome is worth it!


See you in the next Foot Health for Better Running.

 

Manuel Delgado Gaona is a USAT Level II and Youth & Junior Coach, FMTri Level II Certified Coach, an ACSM Exercise Physiologist, and a Physician specializing in Anatomic Pathology. His coaching philosophy is based on exercise efficiency. Coach Manuel can be reached at manuel@teammpi.com.

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