Foot Supination: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Foot Supination: Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Supination and pronation of the foot are natural movements. However, abnormal pro- and supination during our gait cycle can lead to problems reaching from our feet to our hips and lower back. Especially if we like to run for fun or training, it is important to recognize the symptoms of these issues, and how to treat and prevent them.

What is Supination?

Supination and its opposite, pronation, are natural movements that occur when we are walking or running. The terms describe the inward and outward rolls our feet perform in a gait cycle. Healthy supination and pronation help the foot absorb impacts.

In an incorrect walk cycle, we either pronate when we should be supinating or overpro or supinate. Incorrect supination leads to our feet hitting the ground while the inner edge of our foot lifts and the outer edge turns towards the ground. This way, the weight of the body won't transfer to the inner side of the foot. The feet and muscles are strained one-sided, which can lead to several problems.

Problems like overpronation are more frequent, and therefore it is easier to find helpful items and treatments. Since fewer people suffer from improper supination, it is harder to learn about the symptoms, treatments, and best running shoes for supination. Here is the best information for people who suffer from foot supination-based orthopedic issues.

What are the Symptoms of Supination?

Improperly distributing our weight and misusing our muscles can lead to problems and pain in our entire body. Pain in the pelvis and lower part of our spine are common symptoms.

Untreated foot supination can lead to the following problems:

  • Sprained Ankles
  • Stress Fractures
  • Plantar Fasciitis (Inflammation of the plantar fascia muscle)
  • Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (MTSS, aka. Shin Splints)
  • Metatarsalgia (Inflammation of the ball of the foot)
  • Achilles Tendinopathy (Inflamed Achilles muscle)

Causes of Supination

In most cases, supination is caused by using the wrong muscles when we walk. A muscle imbalance can be the reason. Activating the right muscles to walk is harder in these cases. The imbalance between weaker and stronger muscles increases over time, worsening the issue.

Supination and the factors that lead to it create inflexible and rigid feet and cause the midtarsal joint in our feet to lock. This s-shaped joint is meant to provide stability when you need it. However, if it provides this stability at all times, this rigidness causes painful foot, leg, and hip problems through improper shock absorption.  

A common reason is a tight plantar fascia. The plantar fascia is a muscle that runs through our foot and attaches to the heel. A tight plantar fascia is caused by or leads to high arches and inflexible feet, and thus more often leads to supinated feet.

How to Address Supination

At home, you can examine the likeliness of having foot supination with a simple test. If you dip your foot in water and step on a dry piece of cardboard, and the middle of your foot is not visible in the print you leave, you have a high arch. High arches are commonly associated with supinated feet.

A gait analysis will help a medical professional diagnose foot supination. During these, they can identify the muscles you use and point to where pressure applications. Sometimes, you can find sports equipment and running shoe vendors who offer gait analyses in their stores as well.

The Right Equipment

Professional running equipment vendors with gait analysis services are a great option to find the right running or walking shoes and shoe inserts. Alternatively, if you have a diagnosis, the medical professional can provide you with the relevant information and prescriptions for orthopedic shoes and insoles.

These are built to balance out deformities and malposition and help you strengthen weaker muscles that you need for proper natural supination.

There are premade and custom orthotics. While the former can relieve some discomfort due to foot supination, custom inlays and shoes are always the best individual solution.

Physical Therapy

The same applies to physical therapy. Here, the physical therapist will guide you through exercises to improve your condition. They also have the relevant insight to provide you with helpful recommendations for your day-to-day.

Prevention Tips for Avoiding Supination

There are several steps we can take to prevent problems developing from supination:

  • Building Muscle – Muscles help us carry and stabilize our bodies. If we use and train them one-sided, it can lead to problems. Physical therapists will help you find exercises that will give you well-rounded training or strengthen weak muscles. Supplements for runners can help us build muscle and provide our body with other important nutrients, for example to reduce inflammations.
  • Athletic Shoes – Besides special orthopedic shoes and soles, wearing athletic shoes is better over other types of regular shoes. Shoes that stabilize the heel but offer a soft and supportive sole are a great option. It should neither be too bouncy nor rigid. Mild support under the arch can be helpful.
  • A Half-Size Up – Buying shoes with exchangeable insoles or shoes a half-size up is another great starting point. This way, orthopedic soles will comfortably fit into the shoe, even if the shoe itself is not specifically to cancel unhealthy supination.
  • Orthotic Shoes & Insoles – The best help are orthopedic shoes, and among those: are options that are custom-made or fit to the individual foot shape and movements. They directly aim at helping with the wearer's problem.


A person suffering from unhealthy foot supination will experience bodily issues like pain and inflammation through the incorrect use of muscles and rigid, inflexible feet. Humans with an arched foot are especially susceptible to this condition.

The best help is a supportive athletic or orthotic shoe or insoles and physical therapy. They aim at canceling wrong movements and deformities and train weak muscles to balance out the effects of foot supination.

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