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Over Pronation and the Related Features in a Motion Control Running Shoe

What do we know about over pronation and running?  Well we know from the research there is a significant chance that the combination of running and over pronation can lead to lead to injury.  This was one of the driving forces to develop motion control features in running shoes.

What Are the Common Features in a Motion Control Running Shoe?

A number of features have been developed over the years with the aim to control motion:

  • Multi-density or dual density mid-sole: normally you’ll notice a different colour and harder material on the inside of the rear and mid-sole of the shoe.
  • Thermoplastic medial post: is a harder plastic used to limit compression on the inside of the sole with the purpose of increasing resistance against the pronating foot.
  • Rigid heel counter: the next time you are in the sports shop pick up the shoe and squeeze the heel cup and see how flexible or hard it is.
  • Elevated medial insole under the arch: check this in the shoe.  Some motion control running shoes will have an elevated mid-sole like an arch support.  These can come in varying materials and densities.  If you can easily flatten the arch the likelihood is it will not be offering much resistance and control against the foot.
  • Support tensioned medial upper: this is when you will find more tension in the material, again this is to increase the resistance of the motion seen in pronation.
  • Medial flare: when the inside of the shoe flares to provide more stability.

Motion control shoes normally have a combination of these features but not all of them.

Do Motion Control Running Shoes Control Pronation?

The research is mixed some studies say motion control features do control pronation and others say they don’t.  In my opinion it depends on the motion control feature, the cause of the over pronation and that’s without considering how pronation is measured.  A meta-analysis was undertaken (which combines the results of the higher quality studies) and found that motion control shoes do help control pronation and the dual density mid-sole is the most effective feature to do this (Cheung and Chung, 2012).

However you need to take into consideration what is causing the pronation.  It might be tight calf muscles, a difference in limb length of a fixed or non-fixed foot deformity all of which will have an impact on the success of the control feature.

Do Motion Control Running Shoes Reduce Running Related Injuries?

A study by Ryan et al (2010) found there is no evidence to suggest that wearing motion control running shoes reduces the likelihood of running related injuries in a pronated foot.  A more recent study by Malisaux et al (2012) challenged these findings and concluded that those with pronated feet had a reduced risk of injury wearing a motion control running shoe.  However, I still think it comes back to what is causing the over pronation and there is no information that I am aware of that brings all of this together.  Therefore you will need a healthcare practitioner with the appropriate background to describe that to you and advise accordingly.

What’s the Future for Motion Control Running Shoes?

Motion control running shoes might not be as popular as they once were but I still think they are relevant for some of today’s runners.  So for example if your over pronation is caused by tight calf muscles then addressing this is may be more appropriate than changing your running shoe.  However, if you suffer an injury related to over pronation and ground reaction forces when running, then a shoe with motion control features may play a major factor in supporting your care plan.

Check the Run Repeat Website for the current most popular motion control running shoe based on reviews undertaken by runners.



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