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Are there acurate population statistics for foot types?

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by jugglie, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. jugglie

    jugglie Welcome New Poster

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    I am working on a project and i am having difficulty identifying true population statistics when it comes to foot type.

    I would like to see if there are acurate % figures of how many people:

    1. Over Pronate
    2. Supinate
    3. Have a neutral gait

    Just from searching around it would seem that there are a lot of figures being thrown around.

    If i were to average out and generalise
    these numbers i am currently looking at these percentages

    1. Over Pronate - 80%
    2. Supinate - 5%
    3. Neutral - 15%

    If anyone can provide me with more acurate numbers and a source it would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Shane Toohey

    Shane Toohey Active Member

    Good question, I'd love to see the figures.

    I personally, think that there seems to be a bias in tests which exagerates overpronation and under-rates supination, such that from your figures many of the neutral are really supinators and many of the overpronators are neutral. I'm often seeing supinators who have a mild amount of early pronation treated as the probelm and have it resisted by medial wedging of one sort or another only for that to cause problems in the long term. They respond well to lateral wedging of the forefoot mor often.
    Just a quick reply for fun!

  3. Jonathan

    Jonathan Active Member

    One way to find out is to ask the manufactures to provide you with % sales in each category.

    That said - ''apparently'' '85% of runners are in the wrong running shoe and 60% of runners get an lower limb injury as a direct result of that fact'.

    Which begs the question, are manufactures stats worth having?

    I know that these stats are interesting - certainly the northern part of Europe purchases a high % of control/structured shoes whereas south Europeans buy neutral/cushioning.

    A recent thread was discussing what constitutes a normal foot - well some of the best brains in the business haven't yet quantified that (too many variables) so if you do find the answer - I am sure we all would love to know what you based your neutral benchmark on.

    Seriously - let us know your results when/if you are lucky enough to find them. I am sure they would make interesting reading.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  4. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member

    Dear Jugglie

    Try searching 'Foot Posture Index' there are several threads.

    (I think Craig Payne started one thread "not another bloody Foot posture Index", which may give you an insight into the vagaries of defining a normal foot)

    Here's an exert from one which gives links.

    In 'Foot posture index' Tony R writes

    Which may be helpful but why do you need to know what percentage of the population 'over pronate'.
    I would guess that most people, who express a negative opinion about their STJ motion, percieve that they over pronate. This may be bourne out by the fact that all (as far as I know) OTC orthoses are designed with either a medial or unbiased rearfoot post but not with an intrinsic lateral post.

    To be able answer your original question you must first define your parameters, how you measure and record the variables and what is your point of reference.

    The term 'over pronation' has a negative conotation but is it a bad thing? Is 'over pronation' some predetermined number of degrees of eversion past a predefined neutral reference or is it the point where tissue is pathologically stressed by the internal forces that resist STJ pronation.

    Have you seen the over pronation experienced by world class high jumpers doing what I think is still called the Fosbury flop. Makes your eyes water just to see it. But it enables them to jump very high whereas in the average person it would just burst their medial ligaments.

    I think your question may need to have a narrower and more defined objective for you to be able to answer it reliably.

    Just my thoughts

    All the best Dave Smith
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2007
  5. davidh

    davidh Podiatry Arena Veteran

    There are no accurate figures for foot types, not even vague "over-pronate/supinate" foot types.
    Well, natural biological variation is one, but also consider this - all foot types are measured against what the foot does on a hard, flat surface.
    Now what if the foot was not designed for a hard, flat surface (yawn) and in fact has not adopted to a life on a hard, flat surface.......

    Good luck in your quest :)
  6. Hylton Menz

    Hylton Menz Guest

    Tony Redmond and colleagues are currently developing normative data for the Foot Posture Index (FPI) by pooling FPI scores from several research groups around the world. A publication reporting normative FPI scores will be available soon. For further details contact Tony (a.redmond@leeds.ac.uk).

    Kind regards,

  7. As Dave said, to get figures on how many people over pronate you need to define "overpronate". This is not so simple and not everyone will agree. The best definition of overpronation i have found is:-

    Obviously this borrows from the tissue stress model but is by no means complete.

    Anyone got a better definition?

  8. Jonathan

    Jonathan Active Member

    Jugglie - I think you would be better served if you could define your question in more detail, maybe expand on your 'project' etc.

    As it is your first post, i might just think you are a 'buyer' from a huge retail group looking to purchase OTC orthotics and trying to find a function spread :). (Which I am sure you are not).


  9. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member


  10. Jonathan

    Jonathan Active Member

    does read a little like that does it - must be my age!!!


    Victor Meldrew

    Attached Files:

  11. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member


    Johnatna's thought not withstanding, Perhaps you could ask the question ' How many people, that have a biomechanical aetiology for a pathological foot condition, require an external supinating force to resolve it, how many require an external pronating force to resolve it.? This still a very simple view and there are probably no published figures but may give an idea about the numbers of people that over pronate or over supinate (to use your terms). Thinking about it though. it so simple that it is just a rubbish idea.

    Cheers Dave
  12. David Smith

    David Smith Well-Known Member


    I don't beLIEve it, how's that for a tenuous link into another thread,- don't you wish you thought of it first Simon S?

    Nice one :) Dave
  13. No because I'm drinking Robeer. So I'm footloose and fancy free.

    Drink Robeer for regular, neutrally bouyant and solid stools- need we say more?
  14. jugglie

    jugglie Welcome New Poster

    Johnathan, your comments about the footwear manufacturers figures is a good one.

    That is basically where the numbers i have generalised to get the percentages i do have came from, and in the end i feel that these numbers are not nessesarily accurate.

    Your assumption about what my project is, is close but not quite accurate. I do work for a large retailer but the reason i require these figures, is not for orthotics or anything like that. It is to put in a new system on training our staff to fit footwear correctly.

    I used the terms i did as in the Athletic footwear industry they are the terms which are associated with shoes from pretty much all companies.

    I am by no means a biomechanist or a podiatrist and we as a company are not trying to be. hence why i have come to this forum to pose the question.

    I was recommended to veiw this forum by some close podiatrists we work with as i was told that some really good discussion flows around these parts.

    I have searched to find some kind of quantitive data to associate with these words to no avail and decided that i would bite the bullet and ask a website that seems to attract some very intellegent people who actually work in the field.

    I need the information so i can kind of make a blanket statement to our staff in regards to what kind of % of people will be walking into our stores with these kind of biomechanics. We are also implimenting simplified ways of identifying these issues and when to advise someone to see a podiatrist. We are trying to move away from the days of people walking out of a retail outlet and having the completly wrong shoe.

    We are working closely with podiatrists to further train our staff. this is all in the hope that we can have a professional style fitting system that allows customers to have confidence that they have not been jerked around and just sold an expensive pair of shoes for the sake of it.

    I appreciate the comments you have all made, and hope that the reasoning behide why i have ask the question does not change the way you respond to it.


    Steven W
  15. Steven:

    It would have been much better if you had made this full disclaimer in your initial posting, however, what you ask seems to be a reasonable question for someone in your position and I will try to help out.

    You asked:
    I don't think this question can be reliably answered until we first decide what your definition of "overpronate", "supinate" or "neutral" is. First of all, even if we were to try to come up with percentages for you, the numbers would mean virtually nothing to me as a clinician. If we are considering the rotational position of the subtalar joint (STJ), which is the joint in the foot that allows the pronation, supination and neutral positions to occur, then these joint positions do not necessarily correlate to the individual's symptoms. A foot with a maximally pronated STJ may suffer from symptoms related to excessive STJ supination such as chronic inversion ankle instability. And a foot with STJ supination during walking may experience symptoms related to excessive STJ pronation during running. So, for the clinician, knowing whether a foot is just "pronated" or "supinated" is not a clear-cut clinical division that will necessarily allow him/her to determine the optimal type of treatment for any mechanically-based pathology they have in their foot and/or lower extremity.

    Anthony Redmond's Foot Posture Index (FPI), is probably the best measurement system we have for what you are looking for even though it is not meant to describe the pathological internal forces that cause pathology in that foot during dynamic weightbearing activities, it is a good way to describe static foot structure especially in a population of feet. I think that if you are simply looking for foot shape, and not the internal mechanical forces that cause pathologies to occur, the FPI is the way you should go in trying to find percentages of population with certain "foot types".

    Hope this helps.
  16. jugglie

    jugglie Welcome New Poster

    Thanks for that, I would like to clarify that i was in no way trying to hide what i do.

    I came to this forum by reccomendation. and have been veiwing for a few months now. I just thought that this question could best be answered by persons who work in this field professionally.

    I was keeping in mind that we will be speaking to the both staff memebers with limited knowledge and also consumers with possibly even a more limited knowledge. so i wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

    Also the terminology that the major brands of footwear use are trained to all staff in all retailers so i was trying to refer to the terminology that they use.

    Thanks again for any advice you all can give.

    Steven W

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