“If, while balancing on one foot, pronation is a structural collapse, and supination is a neuromuscular response, then these two movements both exist in equal and opposite amounts, and one cannot exist without the other.”
Meaning, the more you pronate (structurally), the more you will supinate (muscularly).
This hypothesis provides a framework to have a disruptive conversation about both feet and dynamic balance, and is a bold paradigm-shifting thought process. As we look at the foot in isolation, one foot at a time (how we mostly use them), we can begin to understand of bones, brains, muscles, and how they work in harmony to create the balance that allows for bipedal movement. We explain this through the eyes of pronation, supination, and how they all work together to create balance.
There are heaps of foot experts in the world, but the conversation about pronation and supination lacks both clarity and depth because, among the numerous experts, there is very little that is truly agreed upon at the cause and effect level. This fuels the flames of misunderstanding about these two conditions. Most people have been advised that they belong to one group or the other, either pronators or supinators.
Instead of choosing sides and letting the world polarize your hearts, minds, and feet, I would invite you into a new conversation about pronation and supination. An idea that provides a unifying theory: that we all belong to both groups. We all both supinate and pronate. The key distinctions being that we are:
1. Offering clarity on what triggers each one of these movements.
2. We have a unique process to actually measure it.
The (antagonist) trigger of pronation is simply that the entire structural tripod of the foot is biased. Biased to collapse towards the big toe every time your foot hits the ground. This is true for every single human. Every single time you land your foot geometry on flat ground, it will collapse “a bit”. That “bit” is measurable, and Foot Foundation can give it a numeric, angular measurement.
For the first time ever, this measurement quantifies a subtalar neutral foot alignment (the neutral position where the foot is neither pronated nor supinated). We can give the “bit” an angular measurement to help find your foot’s natural neutral configuration. This bias to structurally collapse inwards means that the foot would never supinate or roll outwards unless there was an accompanying muscular involvement. It will never fall to the little toe side structurally, without muscular tension (structural injuries aside). Your feet are pre-programmed to fall inwards if the world is consistently flat. Which is true, since most of us live in urbanized environments.
Meanwhile, (protagonistic) supination is solely triggered muscularly, by the unconscious neuromuscular system. Meaning the unconscious brain is telling the muscles to fire and move your weight to the outside of your foot, in order to maintain balance when the bones of your feet structurally fall inward. It simply does not happen any other way.
The repetitive cyclical opposing nature of pronation and supination is what creates and sustains our dynamic balance.
Muscle recruitment comes from our proprioceptive system (the body’s perception of position and movement) and decides how much tension is required to combat the constant underlying structural problem (overpronation). Muscular recruitment is programmed into your biomechanics in everything you do. In work, life, or play. It’s that repetitive life-long condition that mere mortals cannot exercise their way out of. Well… until now.
The ripple effect of this exhaustive wear and tear relationship is exacerbated by 10,000 steps per day, and created any number of problems. The bigger the structural problem (pronation), the bigger the muscular efforts required to create balance and movement (supination). Therefore, pronation and supination is a mechanism that fuels countless overuse injuries. The consistently flat world vs your pronation is an established problem. Having a way to measure and fix it is the new piece that we offer.
As was just mentioned above, the bigger the structural problem, the bigger the required muscular efforts required to create balance and movement. Excess muscular effort creates tension. Tension, in turn, wears on joints and pulls on bones from awkward, inefficient, often painful, and sometimes even dangerous angles.
Through our patented process, Foot Foundation helps you find out what angle the world would need to be in order to match the natural geometry of your foot. We then create a custom angle for each individual foot, built it into a custom shaped 3D image of your foot. “Arch support” is more than just an oxymoron, it is treating the symptom and not the cause. Your arch collapsing is not why you are pronating or in pain. The constant wear and tear battle of pronation vs supination is.
During the past 20 years of testing people through our one of a kind measuring process, Foot Foundation has identified a spectrum of pronation that averages from 0-6 degrees. Using this spectrum, we can measure your unique foot geometry, and provide an angular measurement to mitigate your pronation. Each foot will often be a different angle. Once those numbers are identified for each foot, we build them into a custom shaped set of 3D printed footbeds.
So exactly how much do you pronate? What degree is it? You don’t know? Well, that’s normal. Currently, nobody in the foot world is measuring it. Except Foot Foundation. Depending on where you fall on the pronation spectrum, will reveal your risk for bodily pain, and wear and tear related injuries. Many people have a problem and don’t know it. Others know they have a problem, but nothing seems to fix it. They can feel it, but they probably don’t exactly understand the significance… until your feet, knees, back or hips start to hurt.
The solution? Angle the world to just the right degree (your degree). This will control your pronating structural collapse. By doing that, it will reduce muscular responses, resulting in more relaxed muscles, and reducing wear and tear. All without arch supports.
Try out our custom angled, 3D printed, custom footbeds today, and take a step towards living pain-free!