It's popular theory that many running injuries, especially when you're first starting out, have to do with pronation. How you pronate has to do with how you land your foot, and whether you roll it inward or outward. However, a new study suggests that pronation might have little to do with injury.
Picture: Tony Alter/Flickr
In the running world, pronation is typically used to sell specific types of running shoes. As we've mentioned before, it has long been assumed that shoes that are supposed to correct for certain types of pronation don't actually work, but a new study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine adds more fuel to the fire. This study took on 927 beginner runners and followed them for a year tracking injuries, location, shoe type and more. The result? Pronation doesn't seem to have an effect on injuries at all. The New York Times explains:
This result confirms those of several earlier experiments showing that when runners choose their shoes based on their foot type — when overpronators wear motion-control shoes, for instance, to reduce how much they pronate — they sustain injuries at the same rate or at higher rates than when they choose shoes at random.
In essence, what these findings suggest, says Rasmus Ostergaard Nielsen, a doctoral researcher at Aarhus University who led the new study, is that supposedly deviant degrees of pronation may not in practice be abnormal and do not contribute to injuries.
And if that is the case, he continues, runners, especially those new to the activity, probably do not need to obsess about their foot type. Instead, he says, they could more profitably “pay attention to things like body mass, training, behaviour, age and previous injury in order to prevent running-related injuries.”
While we'll likely see more studies on pronation over time, this one seems to suggest what most runners have assumed for a long while: pronation and shoe type doesn't have an effect on injuries. Head over to The New York Times for the full details on the study.
A Popular Myth About Running Injuries [New York Times]