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The question

My feet pronate when I run. What can I do?

The answer

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The ankle should primarily be a hinge joint that brings your toes toward and then away from your shin.

During pronation, the foot points out to the side, and the inner arch rolls in.

If you pronate while running, the muscles of the knee, hip and back have to alter their recruitment patterns to compensate for the pronation, and over time this can cause injury.

To help retrain the muscles of the foot and ankle, try this exercise to help with your foot alignment.

1. Sit in a chair with your feet bare, parallel and shoulder width apart. Equally distribute your weight on your big toe and both sides of your heel. Lift up your arch and create space between it and the floor. Imagine you are forming a dome with your arch. Hold for five seconds. Repeat five-10 times.

2. Stand on your right leg in front of a mirror so you can watch your form.

First, make sure your weight is evenly distributed on your big toe and both sides of your heel. "Dome" the foot while standing.

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Watch for two things in the mirror:

Don't let your knee cave inward; keep your knee cap in line with your middle toe.

Watch your pelvis, and make sure both hip bones are level.

Aim to hold perfect alignment for five seconds. Work up to holding for 30 seconds. Repeat on left leg.

Trainer's tip

If you pronate, most likely your peroneal muscles (which run lengthwise up the outside of your lower legs) are tight. You can use a foam roller to help release them. Lie on the floor on your side, legs stacked together, with a foam roller tucked perpendicularly under the bottom leg. Use your arms to prop up your upper body (like a plank position) and then propel yourself in a head-to-toes motion. The roller will move up and down your leg, massaging the muscles. Flip over and repeat for the other leg.

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Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at trainer@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in the Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.



Read more Q&As from Kathleen Trotter



Click here to see Q&As from all of our health experts.

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