Questions for the running physio: “I have flat (pronated) feet hence, I need supportive shoes to reduce my risk of injury”

by Dan Davis, Running Physiotherapist, Exercise Scientist, Elite Triathlete, Marathon Runner, Track Runner. Star Physio

Pronation (or feet that ‘roll in’) has somewhat traditionally been attributed to injury risk, hence the popularity within the running shoe world of ‘supportive’ categories of footwear that boast features such as a ‘stiffer mid-foot bridge’ and ‘medial posting’. However, is an absence of strong literature (i.e. good scientific studies) to support this thought process. In fact, one well designed prospective study found that injury risk was actually lower in subjects with a fair amount of apparent pronation (7-10O to be precise). Whilst this study alone is not conclusive to therefore assume more ‘pronated’ or ‘flatter’ feet have a lower injury risk, it adds strength to the argument that perhaps prescribing footwear that seems to ‘correct’ or reduce the movement of pronation may not be as valid as we think.

Did you know that World Marathon Record Holder Haile Gebrselassie is a classic overpronator? Check out these pics and see if you think “overpronation is a problem for him! 

However, when taking into account these ‘discrepancies’ in the literature and indeed before jumping to any potentially irrational conclusions, it’s important to consider the context in which a shoe is being prescribed. For example, there is good evidence to show that some types of supportive footwear can alter loading patterns in the feet, something which is particularly useful in the presence of certain pathologies or in the context of injury management.

As expert running physiotherapists in Western Australia, our aim is to be across the latest literature and evidence and to wade through the vast amount of advertising and social media rubbish, so that we can help you make smart choices with your pain and injuries, training and choice of running shoes.

In summary, in answer to this question, a ‘supportive’ shoe may not necessarily be the ‘best’ shoe in every context to reduce the risk of injury. If you’re currently managing an injury or looking to take the next (or first!) step in your running ventures book in to see either myself or one of our other expert team members at Star Physio in West Perth, Mosman Park or our CBD Office to help get you moving in the right direction.

Get in touch today
Strength Training and Decay

Strength Training and Decay

How can I maintain strength without a gym? Steve Jeffries, Senior Physiotherapist and Strength and Conditioning Expert, with the additional expertise of Star Physio Director Dr Merv Travers (PhD)share the best information on maintaining your strength training while...

5 Best Volleyball Strength Exercises

5 Best Volleyball Strength Exercises

The 5 Best Strength Exercises For Volleyball Check out these 5 great strength exercises to keep you strong and ready to hit the volleyball courts again soon with less injuries, a bigger jump and more power! What are you waiting for??? Volleyballers, are...

Running during COVID-19

Running during COVID-19

RUNNING IN (gym) LOCKDOWN! With all that is currently happening in the world, most notably the closure of gym facilities, we are seeing a rise in the number of people undertaking exercise outdoors, predominantly running. This is fantastic to see (as we...

Social Distancing Special Offers

Special Offers to keep you keeping on!   Stop putting up with that pain! Get in ASAP and let one of our expert physios give you an accurate diagnosis and a program to get you back on track. 10% off all full priced consultations with any of our expert...