Cut away view of human foot

SOME MEDICAL FACTS

Description:

Supination of the foot occurs when your weight rolls onto the outer edges of your feet. Over supination occurs when your rear-foot doesn’t roll in far enough, or seems to roll outward. When this happens, your foot no longer properly absorbs the shock of each step. As part of a normal stride, your rear-foot should roll inward slightly after your heel hits the ground, cushioning the impact and helping you adapt to uneven surfaces.

NOTE: If the mechanics of your foot are a slightly off, it can throw off the alignment of your entire body. Excessive or over supination of your feet will eventually lead to:

  • back and hip pain
  • stress on the knee
  • ankle injuries
  • inflammation of the sole, called plantar fasciitis

Cause:

Supination, or under-pronation, is common among people with high arches or tight Achilles tendons (the stretchy bands of tissue that connect your calf muscles to your heels).  As part of your normal stride, your rear-foot should roll inward slightly (pronate) after your heel hits the ground, cushioning the impact and helping you adapt to uneven surfaces. You then push off the big toe.

Supination is part of every stride you take.  However over supination places extra stress on your foot and leg that can cause problems elsewhere. This is because the shock wave from your heel strike isn’t absorbed properly and the outside of your foot bears the full force of your step’s impact.

Supination is usually a result of an inherited problem with the structure of your foot. In other words, it may run in families. Supination may also be caused by weakness in certain muscles of your foot, ankle, and leg. The lack of strength may be a result of:

  • improper shoes
  • misalignment of the body
  • prior injury to the foot that damaged your tendons or muscles

Wearing rigid, tight shoes all the time can cause problems. And since your feet are the foundation of your body, foot problems can throw your whole body out of alignment. An excessively supinated foot can’t adapt to the surface it’s walking on. This means that the surrounding bones and muscles have to work differently to maintain your posture and balance. Over time, this can lead to tension in various parts of your body, including the calves, knees, hips, and back. Prolonged tension often leads to injuries.

Symptoms

Over pronation may have secondary effects on the lower legs, such as increased rotation of the tibia, which may result in lower leg or knee problems. Over pronation is usually associated with many overuse injuries in running including medial tibial stress syndrome, or shin splints, and knee pain Hintermann states, “Individuals with injuries typically have pronation movement that is about two to four degrees greater than that of those with no injuries.” He adds however, that between 40% and 50% of runners who over pronate do not have overuse injuries. This suggests that although pronation may have an effect on certain injuries, it is not the only factor influencing their development.

Diagnosis

Examine the wear pattern of an old pair of shoes.  Normal wear on shoes goes from the outside edge of the heel toward the center. If instead your shoes are more worn out on the outer edge of the sole, you may be a supinator.

Get your feet wet

Take off your shoes and socks. Wet your feet and with your entire weight, step on a surface where you can see your foot print. If you can’t find a good surface, use a brown paper bag. If about half of your arch is showing on the surface, then you most likely have a normal foot pattern. However, if very little or none of the arch is outlined, you are likely a supinator.

Have a gait analysis performed by a professional

The best way to know if you’re a supinator is to undergo a gait analysis by a professional who is trained to diagnose issues with the feet. It will usually involve walking or running on a treadmill.

Other signs can include;

  • heel or arch pain
  • corns or calluses
  • knee, hip, or back pain
  • hammer toes, mallet toes,claw toes.

Another way to tell if you over supinate is to look at your shins. Try following the line of your bone from your knee all the way to your ankle. If this line leads toward the outside portion of your foot, you may be over supinating. Ideally, you want the line of your bone to lead to the first or second toe.

 

Solution = Orthotics

The design principles of foot orthoses are founded on knowledge of the functional anatomy of the foot. For people with considerable over supination, an option is to have an orthotic device or custom othotic insole fitted. Most cases may require custom orthotics. You wouldn’t build a house without getting the foundations right so why do it with your body?

Supportive orthotics in the shoe is a method commonly implemented to treat many common running injuries associated with excessive over supination. An advantage of orthotics is that they often allow the runner to continue to participate in athletic activity and avoid other treatment options that could be potentially costly and time consuming. Seventy-five percent of injured runners are successfully treated with the prescription of orthoses. Orthotics are the most effective treatment for symptoms that develop from bizarre biomechanics within the body such as over supination, resulting in either great improvement or complete healing of the injury in about half the cases.

 

 

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The Gait Analysis pages describe how each of the 12 common foot problems affect the way you walk and how this affects the physiology of your body as a whole.  An awkward gait causing abnormal steps will change how your weight is distributed across your lower back and lower body joints.  An awkward gait can lead to back pain, hip pain, knee pain, ankle pain & heel pain and in many cases; shoulder and neck pain!  Its important to remember that your feet are the foundation that support your whole body.  If the foundation is faulty, your whole body is affected.

Click here to learn about Supination Gait Cycle Analysis

 

View a 3D model of Over Supination

Image of a normal foot

Bio Human 3D Model

Click on the image to the left to see a 3d Bio Human model of the Anatomy and Physiology of your foot.  By selecting any component of the anatomy of this model of your foot you can view it on its own.  You can turn the model 360 degrees, zoom in and out and strip away parts to reveal the functions of the foot.  This is a medical tool and is used by doctors and surgeons world wide and accurately depicts the physiology of the human foot in detail.

Basic Instructions:

Select the “click to interact in 3d” to manipulate the model.  Select any anatomical component using your mouse pointer.  The Anatomical component will change colour.  Go to the menu that appears on your screen where you can the select different menu items that allow you to manipulate the model.   Note: Edit items in the menu allow you to isolate parts, dissect parts and cross section parts of the foot anatomy.

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