Running Health: Under Pronation

What is Under Pronation?

Under Pronation is a restriction of the natural inward rolling of the foot that occurs during ground contact. It causes the outside of the foot to absorb more force as it strikes the ground. Under Pronation can be associated with some running-related injury problems, especially on the outer part of the foot and lower leg.


When is Under Pronation a concern?

It is useful to consider reducing your Under Pronation if you are suffering from recurring injuries or if other changes to your running technique, training routine, or footwear do not seem to be making an improvement to your performance.

How can I improve my Under Pronation?

1. Lower leg & foot exercises 

One way to reduce Under Pronation is through foot strengthening exercises (especially of muscles / tendons / ligaments on the outside of the foot and lower leg) and working on maintaining a good lower leg flexibility (also with a focus on the outside of the leg). 

Below is a workout to help reduce your Under Pronation.

Follow this exercise plan 2-3 times per week for a period of 4-6 weeks and re-evaluate your Pronation scores regularly using Running Health.

Go to ‘How can I tell if my Pronation is improving? below to learn how to check your progress.

Exercise plan (time estimate: 30 mins) (Downloadable PDF)

2. Changing your footwear 

Many running brands offer shoes that are designed for different kinds of runners. If you tend to Under Pronate, consider wearing neutral running shoes. These will offer you maximum comfort and allow for a neutral motion of your foot forward without over supporting it. Neutral shoes vary in terms of the stability they provide (offering more or less firmness/cushioning in the forefoot), so where possible try out various shoes and pick the one that feels and works best for you.

New Balance 1080 v8 neutral shoe

TIP: Tracking your pronation characteristics over time with different footwear choices in NURVV Run’s Running Health and/or undergoing a professional gait analysis may be useful to make sure that you are running in the right type of shoe. 

3. Custom insoles 

Custom insoles for Under Pronation will support the outside part of the foot and promote movement of the foot inwards to reach optimal pronation levels and therefore ensure more neutral foot position during ground contact.

 TIP: If you can, use a professional gait analysis service. This will help to maximize the chance of having insoles well designed and manufactured to meet your specific needs.

Changing Your Routine 

Follow the steps below to introduce trial improvements to your routine: 

1. Select an improvement to try. NURVV recommends this order: 

  • Exercises: Use the workout listed above and exercise 2-3 times per week.
  • Footwear: If your neutral pronation scores are very low from the start, consider a change in footwear immediately, especially if you are running in an old pair of shoes or if you always had issues with your current trainers
  • Insoles

2. Monitor your Pronation for signs of improvement using Running Health. 

3. Assess your progress every 4 weeks. If your Pronation hasn’t improved, or you’d like to improve it further, select another improvement to try and repeat the process. 

How can I tell if my Under Pronation is improving?

Using the Running Health feature is the easiest and the most effective way to track your progress in improving Under Pronation.

1. Go to the Running health screen. Check your Health Radar regularly to see the current category of your Pronation. If your Pronation starts to improve, you may notice changes to your overall Health Score - your pronation metric will be gradually moving from ‘Bad’/’Poor’/’Average’ towards ‘Good’ and ‘Great’ categories.

2. Now scroll down to A breakdown and select Pronation to see the detailed pronation analysis for each foot. 

3. On top of this Pronation screen, your % Neutral Pronation data are presented for the past 28 days. This graph is key for monitoring your progress once you start implementing the improvement strategies. You should be looking for a gradual increase of the pink line (% Neutral Pronation) over time as seen below. The small circles indicate daily values of Neutral Pronation on days when runs were completed.   

TIP: Shoe choice can have a significant impact on your level of Neutral Pronation.

If your Pronation graph shows large variations in daily values when you run, it would be worth exploring whether there seems to be a pattern between your shoe selection and the daily values.


4. Scrolling down on the Pronation screen you can now identify the full breakdown of pronation categories for each foot and therefore, check whether both or just one foot is causing your Under Pronation score. Over the course of a few weeks, you will be able to observe if and how the strategies that you applied are affecting your pronation characteristics. 

Try to answer these questions: Is the percentage of Under Pronation decreasing? Is the foot starting to show more Neutral Pronation?

If you are experiencing running-related pain and you still exhibit high levels of Under Pronation after trying the strategies outlined above, then consider going through a professional gait analysis.


Improving Under Pronation