Overpronation has become the most abused as well as confusing lingo in running and health professional communities, especially when it comes to the prescription of running shoes. The whole traditional model of the manufacture of different running shoes are derived from the idea of the normal or neutral alignment of the feet. Pronation occurs when the foot moves medially at the rearfoot and the arch collapses. Supination is when the feet tilts outwards at the rearfoot and the mid-foot height increases. These are generally normal healthy movements that are needed for normal biomechanics of the foot. It is the way the foot adapts to irregular surfaces and absorbs impact. Nothing is problematic with the movements of pronation or supination.
The word Overpronation is used to infer if you have too much pronation. The reason that this is an issue is that overpronation is thought to be a risk factor for many different running injuries. That's the reason, running shoes are made with design features within them which are thought to help restrain this overpronation. These types of design features include medial heel posts, dual density midsoles in addition to rigid heel counters. These running shoes should be used by those who overpronate. Runners who tend not to overpronate will need to use shock absorbing neutral footwear.
The trouble with this idea is that the word is overused considerably. There is no consensus regarding the cut-off point between normal pronation and overpronation. There's also not much research linking overpronation to running injury and if there is any, it is showing that it is actually only a very small risk factor. Lots of runners overpronate severely and don't have issues. Equally, there are many runners who do not overpronate that have lots of issues. Because of this dilemma, there's been a recent change in the use of the term and the comprehension of overpronation in relationship to overuse injury and the prescription of running shoes.
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