The Importance of Normal Foot Posture and How To Correct It

Written By Alecsa Stewart
Scientifically Reviewed by Daniel Chantigian

You have heard about the importance of standing posture to keep your back healthy and prevent slouching, but that is not the only posture that keeps you comfortable and healthy. Foot posture is the soul of how your foot moves, and correct foot posture helps you walk and run to the best of your ability. Researchers have identified an effective way to determine your foot posture, it is simply called a foot posture index. A foot posture index tells you if your foot pronates, has a neutral posture, or supinates. Understanding your foot posture will inform your choice of footwear, what type of foot strengthening work you could do to improve your running and your comfort levels, and more.

You will learn all about healthy foot posture and ways to improve the health and the function of your feet to support your whole body in this article.

What is Normal Foot Posture?

Our foot posture is affected throughout our lives by our activity levels, our environment, and our shoe choices. However, there is no “normal” foot posture necessarily - although there is a foot posture index, which helps medical professionals assess the alignment of your feet, ankles and knees to determine how you can have healthy foot posture.

You may have high arches, which often cause runners to land predominantly on the outside of their feet (also known as supination). Other people have flat feet, i.e. a “weak” arch, and may pronate during their running, which causes you to land on the inner part of your foot. In both these cases, you will want to find correct foot posture to help distribute your weight more evenly across the feet. According to an article from the Institute for Aging research, correct foot posture can help prevent injury as well as improve your running form and overall posture for your entire body.

Why is Correct Foot Posture Important?

Keeping your feet aligned ensures even weight distribution, which helps prevent injuries and improve walking or running performance.

Someone who pronates or supinates excessively (allowing the feet to roll inwards or outwards when you walk and run) can suffer from pain on the edges of their feet, have more blisters and sore spots, experience low back pain, and even cause injuries further up the legs (like ankle, knee, or hip joint pain). When a foot moves in the correct biomechanical way, it allows the muscles and joints to work in alignment, avoiding strains and tensions on the ankles, the calf muscles, the shins, the knees, and more. Small misalignments in your running or walking form can cause injury as microtraumas build up over time or when you increase the volume or intensity of training or start walking longer distances, as this article from the BU Physical Therapy Center explains.


 Relax the feet, joints, and muscles with compression socks after hard training.

compression socks for arch support

Common Conditions Associated with Poor Foot Posture

So, what are the possible conditions that poor foot posture can cause? Postural weakness and bad foot, ankle, and leg alignment become painful and affect your running and walking performance, and they can also lead to some more serious problems throughout your body.

These include:

  • Bunions - bony bumps, usually formed at the base of the big toe, but also at the base of the little toe for some people (also known as Tailor’s bunion). They are caused by the faulty movement of the foot, inwards or outwards, which causes the bones in the foot to protrude, while the associate toe moves inward. Many women develop big toe bunions from years of wearing tight-fitting, pointed shoes, for example. Bunions can be painful, causing the area to swell and become irritated.
  • Heel spurs bony outgrowths underneath the heel bone, caused by the foot collapsing inwards because of low arches, among others.
  • Knee pain - linked with incorrect foot posture and repeated movements such as running or walking, there are various types of pain that can develop around the knees including osteoarthritis.
  • Shin splints - pain at the front of the lower leg, on either side of the shin bone, associated with swelling.
  • Low Back Pain
  • Sore calf muscles and calf strains
  • Other forms of Foot Pain

How to Assess Your Foot Posture

It is important to assess your foot posture as soon as you experience any unusual pain and discomfort or when you are starting a training plan for running or long distance walking. Ideally, visit a medical professional or a gait specialist in a running store so you can avoid any injuries. This will help you learn how to choose the best shoes for your activity, too.

2012 review of our understanding foot shape, foot posture, and running biomechanics lists a number of ways to assess foot posture: an initial visual inspection, anthropometric measurement, footprint analysis, and radiographic assessment of the feet.

To begin with, you can check if you have high arches or flat feet simply by looking at your footprint if you step out with wet feet after a shower. You will not see an imprint from the middle of your foot if you have high arches, or you will see your whole foot if you have flat feet. From here, you can have a gait analysis in a running store, where you can get professional advice on shoes that will give your feet adequate support.

If you have more serious problems or are already dealing with bunions or pain and swelling, speak to a medical professional, such as a podiatrist.

 Soothe bunions and sore feet in compression socks.

compression socks for running

How to Improve Your Foot Posture

Some anatomical characteristics of your foot cannot be changed, of course. You often cannot correct high arches or flat feet, and, for bunions, you would need surgery to remove bunions completely. However, there are a few ways to manage any posture irregularities so that they do not negatively affect your everyday life or your walking or running performance.

Wear Compression Socks

2022 study found that wearing compression socks improves ankle stability in subjects, which also suggests benefits for foot posture and improved body alignment. Moreover, compression socks squeeze the foot, allowing better support for a weak arch and reducing the rubbing or blistering risks that over- or under pronators often encounter. Finally, high-quality graduated compression socks improve lower limb circulation, which has multiple benefits for runners and walkers, from reduced recovery times to better performance and lower risk of injuries and medical problems.


Support your feet with graduated compression socks.

compression socks and foot posture

Practice Foot Strengthening Exercises

Foot strengthening exercises can improve posture and give you more stability as you walk or run. Foot strengthening can develop strength in the arch and help splay the toes more naturally for better weight distribution.

Discover how to perform these exercises in our article about bunions. There, we list a few key exercises to improve your foot strength, including moving the big toe outwards, practicing a “short foot,” and using a tennis ball to relax tension and loosen the small muscles in the feet.

Improve Flexibility with Regular Stretching

Another way to improve foot posture is regular stretching and flexibility of your feet. This includes using a small massage or tennis ball to smooth out tensions in the foot, which will automatically allow it to take a more natural, healthier shape. You can also improve flexibility by pointing and releasing the toes while sitting down, as well as rotating the ankles and flexing them repeatedly.

Stretching through the soles of your feet by performing a runner’s lunge or other forms of calf stretches may also benefit your foot flexibility.

Invest in Proper Footwear

It is important that runners and walkers use appropriate footwear for their activities. You should look for sturdy, supportive shoes that protect the feet from repetitive microtraumas such as landing on hard surfaces. Good running shoes are also breathable and lightweight, which reduce the risk of rubbing and blistering. We recommend that you try on your running shoes with your running socks so that you can get the right size - sometimes, wearing thicker socks could mean that you will need to go up half a size.

Footwear is important for those who stand a lot or spend their time on their feet at work. You need to look for similar characteristics as with running shoes: support, soft landing, breathability.

Pay Attention to Overall Body Posture

Your overall posture influences your feet, too. Maintaining a good posture involves:

  • Keeping your head up, looking straight ahead and with the neck in a neutral position
  • Rolling the shoulders back and down to help keep them relaxed.
  • Avoid hunching over.
  • Keep the back straight by engaging your core – think about tucking your tailbone down slightly.

This should help distribute weight evenly throughout the body, which will allow you to avoid spending too long in an uncomfortable position that could lead to imbalances or discomfort in your hips, knees, ankles, or feet.

Maintain a Healthy Body Weight

The more pressure we put on the lower legs, the more the joints, bones, muscles, and blood vessels must work to support our weight, which is why it is so important to have normal foot posture and overall posture. Over time, excess weight can produce issues with balance and posture without proper exercise.

Seek Professional Guidance

If you struggle with your foot posture or continued discomfort related to your feet, you should seek the advice of a medical professional to get bespoke recommendations. A podiatrist can help with orthotics, foot exercises, or other interventions. It is also useful to get professional guidance when you choose shoes for running or walking, by doing a gait analysis in a running store.


Alahmari, K. A., Kakaraparthi, V. N., Reddy, R. S., Samuel, P. S., Tedla, J. S., Rengaramanujam, K., Ahmad, I., Sangadala, D. R., & Mukherjee, D. (2021). Foot Posture Index Reference Values among Young Adults in Saudi Arabia and Their Association with Anthropometric Determinants, Balance, Functional Mobility, and Hypermobility. BioMed research international, 2021, 8844356. Read it here.

Foot Posture Index (FP1-6). (2009). Physiopedia. Read it here.

Menz, H. B., Dufour, A. B., Riskowski, J. L., Hillstrom, H. J., & Hannan, M. T. (2013). Foot posture, foot function and low back pain: the Framingham Foot Study. Rheumatology (Oxford, England), 52(12), 2275–2282. Read it here.

Arner, R. L. (n.d.). The Influence of Foot Position in the Athelete. Boston University Physical Therapy Center. Read it here.

Menz, H. B., Dufour, A. B., Riskowski, J. L., Hillstrom, H. J., & Hannan, M. T. (2013). Association of planus foot posture and pronated foot function with foot pain: the Framingham foot study. Arthritis care & research, 65(12), 1991–1999. Read it here.

Hagedorn, T. J., Dufour, A. B., Riskowski, J. L., Hillstrom, H. J., Menz, H. B., Casey, V. A., & Hannan, M. T. (2013). Foot disorders, foot posture, and foot function: the Framingham foot study. PloS one, 8(9), e74364. Read it here.

Zhang, M., Nie, M. D., Qi, X. Z., Ke, S., Li, J. W., Shui, Y. Y., Zhang, Z. Y., Wang, M., & Cheng, C. K. (2022). A Strong Correlation Between the Severity of Flatfoot and Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis in 95 Patients. Frontiers in surgery, 9, 936720. Read it here.

Derby, H., Conner, N. O., Talukder, A., Griffith, A., Freeman, C., Burch, R., Simpson, J. D., Goble, D. J., Knight, A. C., & Chander, H. (2022). Impact of Sub-Clinical and Clinical Compression Socks on Postural Stability Tasks among Individuals with Ankle Instability. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 10(7), 1271. Read it here.

Liu, R., Lao, T. T., Kwok, Y. L., Li, Y., & Ying, M. T. (2008). Effects of graduated compression stockings with different pressure profiles on lower-limb venous structures and haemodynamics. Advances in therapy, 25(5), 465–478. Read it here

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