Pronation & Supination: What You Should Know

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Pronation & Supination: What You Should Know


There are two main words used when someone’s feet are turning in, or turning out. These are “pronation” and “supination.” These terms best describe the way the foot naturally moves through the motions, while running or walking, and is sometimes called the “running gait.” If your feet turn in, or out, this may be the news you’ve been waiting for!

Let’s begin with pronation. Pronation is the inward roll of the foot during normal motion. It occurs as the outer edge of the heel hits the ground and the foot rolls inward and flattens out. A moderate amount of pronation is required for the foot to function properly, however damage and injury can occur during excessive pronation. When excessive pronation does happen the foot arch flattens out and stretches the muscles, tendons and ligaments underneath the foot.

How about “supination?” Those who have supination have the opposite problem from pronation. Supination refers to the outward roll of the foot during normal motion. A natural amount of supination occurs during the push-off phase of the running gait as the heel lifts off the ground and the forefoot and toes are used to propel the body forward. Excessive supination places a large strain on the muscles and tendons stabilizing the ankle. This can lead to the ankle rolling completely over, resulting in an ankle sprain or total ligament rupture.

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There are common symptoms of this problem that you can watch for. They are:

-Back Pain

-Hip pain

-Knee pain

-Achilles tendinitis

-shin splints

-Ankle sprains

-flat feet

-arch pain

-corns, calluses, bunions

How can these issues be treated?

The easiest ways to work on correction are by adding orthotic inserts into your shoes, and life. Before randomly running out to the Dr. Scholl’s foot stand at Walmart, really consider meeting with a professional Pedorthist, or Podiatrist, to discuss making custom orthotics to really take care of YOUR issues. Over the counter inserts can be helpful, but many are made to generically fit the world, leaving your issues out to pasture. A Pedorthist can watch you walk, analyze and cast your feet if necessary, and make custom orthotics for you. They can tell you if your style of running or walking helps, or hurts, your pronation/supination issues, and can advise on how to heal and fix. After we analyze you and your gait, we can make the appropriate shoe recommendations as well.


If you’re having any of these issues, please contact me at Summit Pedorthics, today!

Stay tuned for the next article on Pronation & Supination covering proper foot wear, and what happens if orthotics don’t cut it!