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What Causes Supination In The Foot? Symptoms.

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Do you experience pain or discomfort when walking or running? It could be due to a condition called supination. In this article, we will delve into the ins and outs of supination, exploring what causes it and how it can be treated. Supination is a natural movement of the foot that occurs during the gait cycle. It refers to the outward rolling of the foot onto the outer edge. While slight supination is normal, excessive supination can lead to various problems, including ankle sprains, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis. There are several factors that can contribute to supination. One common cause is having high arches, which place more pressure on the outside of the foot. Additionally, muscle imbalances, tight calf muscles, and wearing improper footwear can all exacerbate supination. Understanding the underlying causes of supination is crucial in finding the right treatment and prevention strategies. So, if you're curious about supination and want to learn more, keep reading! Remember, it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

Understanding Foot Supination & Its Causes

Ever wondered why your arches feel so high, or why you seem to roll on the outer edges of your feet when you walk? You might have supination, also known as underpronation. Unlike pronation, where your foot rolls inward to absorb impact, supination limits this inward movement, placing more stress on the outside of your foot.

This imbalance can have a domino effect, potentially leading to pain in your feet, ankles, knees, and even your hips. While a slight degree of supination is normal, excessive supination can cause problems. The causes of supination vary, but some common culprits include:

  • Foot Structure: High arches and tight calf muscles can naturally limit inward rolling during gait.

  • Improper Footwear: Shoes with poor arch support or worn-out soles can contribute to supination.

  • Muscle Imbalances: Weakness in certain foot muscles or tightness in others can affect how your foot rolls.

  • Prior Injuries: Old ankle sprains or other foot injuries can lead to instability and supination.
Supination In The Foot

Common Symptoms Of Foot Supination

Supination, while a natural part of foot motion, can become problematic when excessive. If you suspect your high arches might be causing trouble, there are some telltale signs to watch out for. Here's a breakdown of the common symptoms associated with foot supination:

  • Painful Partners: Pain in the outer aspects of your foot and ankle is a frequent culprit. This discomfort can arise from the increased pressure placed on these areas during gait. You might also experience pain in your forefoot, particularly under the ball of your foot, due to the lack of shock absorption from proper pronation.

  • A Wobbly Walk: Supination can affect your balance and stability. The limited inward rolling motion can make your feet feel rigid, leading to a less stable gait. This might manifest as feeling like your ankles tend to roll outwards, or a sensation that your feet slap the ground more than they roll through each step.

  • Trouble Down the Line: The altered mechanics of a supinated foot can have repercussions beyond your feet. Supination can put undue stress on your joints, potentially leading to pain in your knees, hips, and even lower back. You might also experience issues like shin splints or stress fractures due to the repetitive stress on these areas.

Effects Of Foot Supination On The Body

Supination might start in your feet, but its effects can travel far and wide. Because your feet are the foundation of your body, when their natural mechanics are disrupted, it can throw your entire musculoskeletal system out of whack. Here's how excessive supination in the foot can impact your body:

  • Painful Chain Reaction: The altered gait pattern associated with supination puts extra stress on various joints. The outer part of your ankle, the balls of your feet, and even your knees can become overloaded, leading to pain and inflammation. In severe cases, supination can contribute to conditions like plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner's knee).

  • Balance Blues: Supination can compromise your balance and stability. The limited inward rolling motion reduces your foot's ability to adapt to uneven terrain, making you more prone to stumbles and falls. Additionally, the altered mechanics can affect your posture, potentially leading to pain in your hips and lower back as your body tries to compensate.

Diagnosing Foot Supination

If you suspect supination might be behind your foot woes, there are ways to get a clearer picture. Here's how podiatrists typically diagnose excessive supination:

  • Physical Examination: A podiatrist will visually assess your feet, examining your arches, looking for signs of wear on your shoes, and checking your range of motion in your ankles and toes.

  • Gait Analysis: This dynamic approach involves observing you walk or run on a specialized treadmill or pressure mat. This allows the podiatrist to analyze your foot strike pattern and see how much your foot rolls inward during gait. In some cases, additional imaging tests like X-rays might be used to get a more detailed picture of your bone structure and any underlying issues.

Foot Supination

Treatment Options For Foot Supination

If you've been diagnosed with supination, there's no need to despair! Fortunately, there are several effective treatment options available to help correct the imbalance and alleviate any associated pain. Here's a look at some of the most common approaches:

  • Supportive Footwear: Choosing the right shoes is crucial for supinators. Opt for shoes with good arch support and a wider toe box to accommodate your high arches. Look for shoes designed for neutral gait or specifically for underpronation. Replacing worn-out shoes with proper support is also key.

  • Custom Orthotics: Bilt Labs custom orthotics can be a game-changer for supination. Crafted from impressions of your feet, these personalized inserts provide targeted arch support and help guide your foot into a more neutral position during walking and running. This can significantly reduce stress on the outer aspects of your feet and improve overall comfort.

  • Physical Therapy Exercises: Strengthening specific foot muscles and stretching tight calves can help improve balance and stability, and promote a more natural gait pattern. A podiatrist or physical therapist can develop a personalized exercise program to address your specific needs.

Preventing Foot Supination

While supination can be addressed effectively, prevention is always the best medicine. Here are some proactive strategies you can incorporate into your routine to help prevent excessive supination and keep your feet happy:

  • Footwear Focus: This can't be stressed enough! Choose shoes with good arch support and a wide toe box to allow for proper foot splaying. Opt for shoes designed for neutral gait or underpronation. Regularly replace worn-out shoes before they lose their supportive qualities.

  • Strengthening and Stretching: Maintaining strong foot muscles and flexible calves is key. Regularly performing exercises that target these areas can help improve balance and stability, promoting a more natural gait pattern. A physical therapist can recommend specific exercises tailored to your needs. You can also find plenty of online resources for foot strengthening exercises.

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics

Supination, with its excessive outward rolling of the foot, can wreak havoc on your feet and overall well-being. But fear not, fellow high-archers! Bilt Labs custom orthotics can be a powerful weapon in your fight against supination's discomfort and potential for injury.

Here's how these personalized inserts can specifically target the issues caused by supination:

  • Customized Arch Support: Unlike generic insoles, Bilt Labs orthotics are crafted from molds of your actual feet. This ensures the arch support is precisely where you need it, effectively cradling your high arches and preventing excessive outward rolling. This targeted support helps distribute weight more evenly across your foot, reducing stress on the outer areas that typically bear the brunt in supination.

  • Promoting a Natural Gait: By providing the right amount of arch support and guidance, Bilt Labs orthotics can help nudge your foot into a more neutral position during gait. This encourages the natural inward rolling motion that supination disrupts, promoting better shock absorption and reducing strain on your joints.

  • Enhanced Comfort and Stability: Supination can lead to pain, fatigue, and a wobbly gait. Bilt Labs orthotics combat these issues by providing a stable, comfortable foundation for your feet. The targeted support alleviates pressure points, reduces pain, and improves overall stability, allowing you to walk, run, and exercise with greater comfort and confidence.

Bilt Labs custom orthotics aren't a magic bullet, but they can be a valuable tool in managing supination. By providing customized support, promoting proper gait mechanics, and enhancing comfort, they can help you keep your feet happy and active for longer.

Bilt Labs Custom Orthotics


While understanding the root causes of supination is important, simply knowing "why" doesn't solve the "how" of managing discomfort. The good news is that there are effective treatment options available, from choosing proper footwear to custom orthotics that can significantly improve your foot health and function. If you suspect supination might be causing you trouble, consult a podiatrist for a diagnosis and discuss the best course of action to get you back on track, pain-free and with happy, healthy feet. Take our free quiz today to find out which orthotic type is best for your feet.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions about your health. If you have any questions about your health or are experiencing any medical problems, please contact your doctor or other healthcare provider immediately. Do not delay seeking medical attention based on the information provided in this article.