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I’m pronating on my skates. What do you recommend?

Q  Hi Asha.  ! love your videos and hope to skate as smoothly and powerfully as you do someday. I have pronated feet—not terrible—but I can see on my wheels that I’m leaning inward and pronating on skates as well. I purchased some insoles to correct but doesn’t seem to work. Do you have any suggestions? 
 Seems like I need extra padding on inside of boot to force my leg and ankle outward. I can see how pronation will affect speed, balance, etc. Appreciate your help and recommendations. 

Janet Oriander, USA

A   Insoles for skates can be a good idea if you usually wear any kind of special insoles in your shoes but this is just to give you additional comfort. It seems logical to think that this should be solvable with “extra padding on the inside of the boot” but this would actually just create additional pressure on the inside of your foot and would not “force” any correction I’m afraid. If you wear special insoles in your shoes, get a duplicate made for your skates so you don’t have to keep swapping them around. However, insoles wont correct your pronation on skates as pronation is caused by the incorrect positioning of your body, not you equipment. 
Let me explain.

On inline skates the base of your foot is no longer on a ‘flat’ surface (like your foot on the ground is). An inline skate has 3 positions that the wheels can be in relation to the ground; an inside edge (the pronation you talk about), a centre edge (where the wheel is vertical) and an outside edge (used consciously by more advanced skaters). 

Beginners are more likely to pronate when they begin to skate because they tend to roll with both skates a bit far apart which automatically puts both skates on an inside edge pronation. If this continues for a prolonged period of time (and for may skaters they fix one foot but not the other) this can develop into ankle or knee problems that gradually get worse over time. Our joints were not designed to be at those (pronated) angles so slow onset injuries as I call this are something I’ve observed in many skaters who didn’t manage to fix their pronation properly.

However, it is the one legged glide phase of the normal skating stride where pronation is also evident in non-beginners. Many, many intermediate and even advanced skaters display a slight inside edge pronation on their weaker leg during their glide phase. This is often accentuated when a skater “graduates” onto larger wheels or when they begin to skate faster or for longer distances. Left to its own devices, pronation doesn’t usually fix itself spontaneously. It needs conscious effort and attention to 2 things;

  1. The amount of knee bend you have during the glide.
  2. The direction of that knee bend (in, forwards or out).

I include in all live classes with new skaters (and in Online Training Courses) with an explanation of how to fix pronation while doing certain drills such as ‘Scooting’ or ‘Lunge and Roll’ for example. Edge control is a constant focus point until the correct knee bend becomes second nature. It does take effort and concentration to observe your edge during these drills and make the appropriate knee bend direction change needed to produce the Centre edge and a vertical wheel to the ground, for more balanced and confident gliding.

Theory is all very well and good but unless it translates into new things happening with your body, bad habits like pronating will unfortunately continue or get worse.

I offer as a way of practical help some Free training drills for normal skating (Beginner and Intermediate levels). If a skater cannot consciously control their edges (on both skates) during isolated drills like the exercises offered below, then it is highly unlikely that the ability to consciously control their edges will magically “appear” while skating. The longer one skates with pronation, the more you are reinforcing that (wrong) muscle memory and the harder it will be to fix the problem later on. This is why I get my new beginners thinking about and conscious of their edges from the get go.

For Beginner skaters here are 2 FREE Training Drills explained and demo’ed which if done regularly (a few minutes every time you skate should do it) WILL change how you skate and eradicate your pronation permanently. 

Click “Free Trial” next to the Trailer Video on this page for 2 Beginner level drills.

https://inlineskatecourse.com/skate-for-fitness-beginner/

For Intermediate skaters, here are 3 FREE Training Drills explained and demo’ed which will shine a light on where your edge control is at. My apologies, these are not appropriate for indoor isolation spaces, but without even doing the drills you will come to understand how and why you are always responsible for what your skate does (or does not do). Edges are really important to get right.

Click “Free Trial” next to the Trailer Video on this page for Intermediate level drills.

https://inlineskatecourse.com/skate-for-fitness-intermediate/

I promise that pronation is something very worthwhile tackling because there is nothing worse than developing a slow injury over time from neglecting this. I have had students in the past come to me with serious sow onset joint problems and scheduled for surgery on their problematic ankle/knee and as we’ve quickly fixed the pronation (using these and other exercises), the injury reversed itself and surgery was avoided (I’ve seen this 5 times in the last 10 years). 

I discovered this connection between pronation and slow onset joint problems during my early years teaching. I noticed that people complaining about ankle and knee pains ALWAYS had a slight pronation on that skate (and not the other). I knew this wasn’t coincidence but I only became sure of the cause and the fix after seeing these skaters fix the pronation and the pains disappearing. 

I hope you’ll allow me to help you by getting the Free Trial lessons mentioned above, watching them and when you can, skating them with the focus points in mind (primarily your edges). Other aspects of your skating stride (push, regroup etc) will also be improved by regularly training these drills. These are exactly the same movements and detail I teach my students in class, and nothing I’ve offered on YouTube goes anywhere near.

Do let me know how you get on and what you notice. 

I’m always very interested in what happens next.