Although you’ve probably never thought about it, walking is a complex process and our feet have a different function as we take one step to the next. The main function of our feet is to transmit the forces from the ground to our legs. If these forces are not distributed effectively, there could be an overload on certain joints which can lead to pain.

Your feet have numerous roles to play when walking, they need to absorb the shock when they hit the ground and they need to be flexible and maintain balance when you stand on uneven surfaces. They also need to provide the spring and propulsion to take each step so you can keep moving forwards.

After your heel first contacts the ground, the foot lowers and flattens. This movement is called pronation and it is a normal part of the walking cycle, taking place with each step in the period between the heel hitting the ground and the foot being flat on the floor.

As the body moves forward the heel lifts off the ground, the muscles in the foot tighten and the bones lock together to provide a springboard for the toes to push the bodyweight forwards off the ground. This movement is called supination.

The amount of pronation or supination varies from person to person. Some people have a tendency to pronate more, resulting in the foot flattening and rolling further inwards, which can lead to stress on the soft tissues and bones in the foot or leg resulting in pain.

If the foot doesn’t roll in enough as the foot contacts the floor, it can stay rigid and is unable to absorb shock properly. This is called excess supination and the weight tends to be distributed on the outside of the foot, this can result in back and knee pain as the body can’t absorb the impact properly each time the foot contacts the floor.

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