“Three phases a runner’s foot passes through with each stride.”
The Rearfoot Phase
Each time your foot lands on its heel, it undergoes considerable shock. The strain is taken up by the heel bone, which reacts by first rolling, then swaying, then finally tilting slightly over toward the outside of the foot. The actual shock of heel contact creates an impact of up to three times body weight. All this impact is transmitted upward toward the leg joints. This is why runners can experience strains in their ligaments, tendons, and joints.
The Midfoot Phase
As the runner’s body weight shifts forward, the foot then moves into the midfoot phase, with the force shifting away from the heel toward its midsection. The arch of the foot splays out, with the sole taking up the entire weight of the body. Then the foot rolls forward onto the metatarsals, bringing with it a twisting effect. This can force the foot to tilt toward the inside or to the outside, placing new strains on the joints and ligaments.
The Forefoot Phase
This is where the foot feels the pressure. As the foot continues to roll forward and the runner’s weight is transferred to the metatarsal bones in the forefoot, the force exerted actually increased to between four and seven times body weight. The spread of muscles across the metatarsals distributes the stress across the whole width of the forefoot, absorbing the surge of power that propels the foot off the ground for the next stride.
Which type are you?
The natural tendency of the foot to strike the outside of the heel and then rolling inwards and off the big toe. This offers the greatest shock absorption.
- Normal arch (half of the arch region is filled in)
- Foot joints tend to be overly mobile
This type of person will roll inwards too quickly and too much.
- Flat feet (low arch)
This type of foot strike is considered a rigid foot and has the least amount of shock absorption. This motion tends to keep weight on the outside of the foot and roll off the little toe instead of the big toe.
- High arches
- Stiff foot that doesn’t bend
If you still aren’t sure, take the wet test. Take a look at your steps after you get out of the shower or wet the bottoms of your feet and step onto a paper shopping bag or heavy piece of paper. Then compare to the chart below.
Photo Courtesy: Jimdo.com
Choosing Your Shoe
If You Are An Overpronator
Look for shoes with motion control and straight in shape.
If You Are A Pronator
Look for shoes with stability and a semi-curve for shape.
If You Are A Supinator/Underpronator
Look for shoes with cushion and curved in shape.