What Wear Patterns Tell About Feet

26 Mar What Wear Patterns Tell About Feet

What Are Your Shoes Trying to Tell You?

Your soles can tell a lot about you. That’s why one of the things a podiatrist check is the wear pattern of your shoes. This pattern indicates whether your gait is normal and what can be done to correct your foot problems.

The study of a person’s gait is called biomechanics. It looks at the way the muscles in your legs and feet act when you’re in motion. A big part of a podiatrist’s job is determining your unique biomechanics.

Common Wear Patterns

Your shoes do the talking for you when it comes to biomechanics. They can actually give your podiatrist a lot of information. Here are the most common patterns your podiatrist is likely to see.

Normal Wear

If you have a normal gait, your shows will show what’s called symmetry. That means they’ll be worn out in a more or less even pattern. If you have a normal step when you walk or run, your shoes will show wear on the heel and the middle of the balls of your feet.


image of walker suffering foot pain from wearing worn out shoes


Overpronation refers to a gait where your arch moves downward or to the side excessively. Overpronation is also known as flat feet.

If you overpronate, your shoes will be worn out on their inside edges. You’ll especially see this on the edges of your heels and the balls of your feet.

Overpronation is a problem because your foot never gets a good grip before pushing off for a walk. It can lead to serious foot and ankle problems including:

  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Achilles tendonitis.
  • Iliotibial band syndrome, which is an inflammation of the knee.
  • Bunions.
  • Frequent stress fractures.
  • Chronic back and knee pain.


If you suffer from excess supination, you tend to roll your weight to the edges of your feet.

Supination the opposite of flat arches. When your foot hits the ground, it tends to hit on the edges of your heels. When you push off, you do so from the edges of your feet. As a result, your feet don’t absorb shock or have much buoyancy.

Your shoes will show a wear pattern along the outside edges of your heels and the edges of the balls of your feet.

If you don’t correct supination, you can develop serious complications including:

  • Severe corns and calluses.
  • Frequent ankle sprains.
  • Shin splints.
  • Hammertoes.
  • Weakness and swelling in the foot and ankle.
  • Plantar fasciitis.

What Causes Overpronation and Supination?

You can develop these conditions if you are obese, don’t exercise and don’t wear supportive, well-fitting shoes. These conditions can also be genetic.


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How a Podiatrist Can Help

A podiatrist can help you correct your gait and prevent serious foot and ankle problems. Treatment is likely to include the following.

Shoe selection: Ask your podiatrist to help you select the right daily wear and running shoes. They should have an ample toe box, cushioned lining, and thick, supportive heels.

Custom orthotics: Well-designed, perfectly fitting orthotics can correct the way you walk. They’ll also help prevent the serious problems caused by overpronation or supination. If you suffer from overpronation or flat feet, you should wear orthotics that support the arch and heel. If you have supination, you should use orthotics that hold your feet stable.

Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help heal the pain caused by an improper gait. Your physical therapy should focus on correcting your gait as much as possible.

Stretching exercises: Prevent tendon and ligament problems with a routine of gentle stretching exercises.

Contact Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine

If you’re feeling pain in your feet, ankles or legs, you might be experiencing an uneven gait. At Shuman Podiatry & Sports Medicine, we use 3D technology to create custom-fitted orthotics. Contact us today for all your foot problems.

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