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Foot Health Blog

Find expert articles from physical therapists and podiatrists to help understand, diagnose, and treat different foot health issues such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, flat feet, and more.
Barefoot person standing on their toes
Foot supinationHow to Correct Supination: Stretches, Exercises, Orthotics, & MoreSupination, not to be confused with pronation, refers to the rolling of the foot on its outer borders when walking or running. While supination is normal to a degree, it can become excessive. There are many causes of excessive supination. It places an extra strain on your ankles, causing pain and soreness in the leg muscles. Here's a look at understanding foot supination and how to correct supination using stretches, exercises, orthotics, and other treatment methods. Can Supination Be Corrected? Supination can be corrected. The earlier the intervention, the better and faster the results. Without that, supination will lead to ankle pain, strain, and swelling. This can also lead to bunions and calluses, hammertoes, iliotibial band pain syndrome, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and more. Supination can be corrected using exercises, orthotics, footwear, and several other means. » Get proper foot support with the best insoles for supination Best Footwear and Orthotics for Supination Wearing proper footwear and orthotics can also be used to treat supination. As a general rule, the best footwear for supination must have curved edges to encourage pronation, be made from flexible and lightweight materials that allow more motion, and have flexible medial soles. Additionally, neutral shoes that provide extra cushion and shock absorption will work for supination. Apart from using the correct footwear for supination, orthotics are also very useful in correcting supination. They support the feet, evenly distribute the pressure across the foot, and ensure the foot remains neutral when walking. When choosing insoles, go for those that are firm and durable, have a deep heel cup, and are modeled after the curves of your feet. Best Exercises for Supination Exercises can be used to correct supination, particularly when performed in addition to using orthotics. Generally, the exercises aim to strengthen the lower leg and foot muscles, supporting ligaments, and tendons. Stretching exercises help to relieve any tension in the leg. Strengthening exercises help to ensure muscle balance and prevent unsteady gait, taking some pressure off the foot. Here are some examples of possible exercises to correct supination. Stretching Exercises Calf and Achilles tendon stretch Stretching the calf and Achilles tendon will relieve the strain in the feet and realign any supinated foot. To perform the stretch, stand with both feet firmly planted on the floor. You can have some form of support like a wall, table, or chair close by. Step back with one leg while keeping your back straight. Bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in your calf region and along the back of your ankle.Plantar fascia stretch To perform the plantar fascia stretch, place your left ankle just above the knee of your right leg while sitting in a chair. Grab the toes on your left foot with your left hand and pull them back slowly towards the front of the ankle. You should feel a stretch in your plantar fascia. Hold the position for at least 10 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Repeat 3–5 reps per set on each side.Tibialis anterior stretch Stretching the tibialis anterior addresses what is otherwise known as a shin splint stretch. To do this, stand barefoot with your hands against a wall and one foot a little towards the back. Bend your front knee slightly, keeping your foot firmly on the ground. Now, place the hindfoot a little behind you so the top of your toes bends towards the ground. Bend your front leg slowly until you feel your shin muscle stretch. Hold the position for 20 seconds and then switch to the other foot. Strengthening Exercises Heel step down While standing, put one foot in front of the other. Stop the motion immediately as your heel hits the floor instead of rolling onto the ball of your foot. Hold the position for about 10 seconds before returning to your starting position. Repeat 15 times on each foot.Single leg stance From a standing position, lift the unaffected foot so that you're only putting weight on the supinated foot. Hold position for 15–20 seconds. Lower your knee and repeat up to 10 times. Other Treatments for Supination In addition to performing exercises, wearing proper footwear, and using orthotics, there are also other treatment options to manage the symptoms of supination. The proper treatment method depends on how severe the case is before intervention. Generally, these methods include rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), activity limitation, and physical therapy. The aim is to realign the foot and relieve any pain due to supination. When supination leads to deformity or conservative treatment methods do not bring the desired improvement, surgery becomes the next step. The aim of surgery, in this case, is to correct the deformity and restore normal ankle joint alignment and position.
slightly rolled foot
Foot supinationFoot Supination: Diagnosis, Causes, and TreatmentThe feet play an essential role in everyday life. Unfortunately, when there is an issue with the foot, many people often leave them unaddressed until it becomes a severe problem. Foot problems, when they are left in this way, have been known to affect the quality of life. Alternatively, when issues with the foot are addressed, the quality of life improves. One of the most common issues with the foot is supination. What Is Foot Supination? Foot supination occurs when the foot rolls on its outer borders when walking or running. Too much supination can cause pain and soreness in the muscles of the leg as supination forces the body to compensate for the change in gait mechanics in several ways, leading to imbalances and injuries. These injuries include knee pain, ankle sprains, foot problems, shin splints, and stress fractures. Causes of Foot Supination Generally, foot supination results from an imbalance in muscle action when walking. Common causes of this are: Inherited traits like limb length discrepancy, foot width, ankle stability, the shape of the foot arch.Rigid and tight-fitting shoes.Body malalignment.Previous injury to the ankle and foot.Sedentary lifestyle.Joint stiffness due to aging or arthritis.Prolonged standing. Diagnosing Foot Supination You could either diagnose foot supination by yourself or seek medical expertise to do so. Self Diagnosing Foot Supination There are 2 ways that you can diagnose yourself for foot supination. 1. Examine old shoes Check out the sole of your shoe to determine if there is any distinct pattern of wear. With supination, your shoes will wear down on the outer edges only. This is very different from the pattern of wear in people with normal gait, where the shoes wear out from the outer edge of the heel towards the center. Alternatively, you can conduct a tilt test. To do this, place your favorite walking or running shoes on a flat surface and observe the direction of tilt. If the shoes bend towards the outer edge, this may be a sign of foot supination. 2. Check footprints After wetting your feet appropriately, step onto a surface that will show your footprint clearly, such as a sheet of paper. You have supination if only a fraction (or none) of the arch is visible. With a normal degree of pronation, at least half of the arch is visible. Medical Diagnosis (Gait Analysis) A podiatrist or physical therapist can also prescribe a gait analysis test to determine if you have supination issues. For this test, you’ll need to walk or run on a specialized platform while the expert observes. The expert will also tell you if your shoes are right. Even after self-diagnosis, you must carry out a gait analysis to determine the veracity of your self-diagnosis and get expert direction and treatment. Treatment of Foot Supination When issues with supination are noted, they must be addressed promptly. Otherwise, supination will lead to further pain in the ankle, knee, hip, and back; distorted gait; and other complications. The general approach to correcting supination is conservative while the goal is to address the imbalance and prevent complications. Some of the common approaches are: Use of orthotics Orthotics with arch support are integral to the management of supination. Custom orthotics, in particular, are recommended by podiatrists. They provide maximum support for the arch and heel, helping to control the motion of the foot. You can order your custom orthotics online from Upstep. Proper shoes The right set of shoes will be incredibly lightweight, flexible, and provide enough cushion. These allow for sufficient ankle motion and foot and arch flexibility by providing adequate support. Also, ensure that the shoe fits properly and gives your toes enough room to move around. Retrain your posture A physical therapist can help retrain your walking posture. On your own, you can try to land gently on your feet when running or walking. Your aim should be to hit the ground midfoot instead of at the heel and avoid curving your toes. Usually, a short stride guarantees proper form compared to longer ones. Exercises Both stretching and strengthening exercises are useful for treating supination. While stretching will help address any tight tendons and ligaments, strengthening exercises will work on the muscles in your leg. » Struggling with excessive supination? Check out our guide on how to correct foot supination Importance of Proper Footwear Whatever the case may be, the use of proper footwear can help mitigate most of the challenges that can result from excessive supination. Not only will the footwear prevent over supination, but it will also prevent long-term damage. » Still not convinced orthotics can treat foot supination? Read the foot supination custom orthotics review
Man holding up different running shoes in sports store
Foot supinationChoosing the Best Running Shoes for Supinated FeetOverpronation and supination are common foot problems experienced by athletes. While overpronation is more common, supination is no less significant in its impact on the runner. To understand foot supination, the supinated foot rolls on its outer borders during weight transfer, and with excessive supination comes pain and soreness of the leg muscles as compensatory mechanisms kick in and gait adjustment takes place. Foot supination is the result of a muscle imbalance during foot motion. There are many causes of foot supination, including limb length discrepancy, foot width, ankle stability, the shape of the foot arch, how the shoe fits, and body malalignment. In this guide, we discuss how supinated feet affect the body, how running with supinated feet is experienced, the type of shoe to wear as a supinator, and how to choose the best footwear for your needs. The Impact of Supinated Feet on the Body A foot that supinates can be a significant problem when exercising. The foot cannot adapt to the surface it's walking on, meaning that the muscles and bones have to compensate to maintain your posture and balance. The weight that should be transferred directly to the ground through the foot is reabsorbed and redistributed to the lower limb. Over time, this increases the tension in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the lower limb, including the calves, knees, and hips. Consequently, more energy is expended while exercising with supinated feet. What Type of Footwear Do Supinators Need for Running? Interestingly, the right footwear can help correct excess supination, ensuring efficient weight transfer during running. The best footwear for supinators to wear when running has extra cushioning, good arch support, and a wide toe box. When working in combination, these features will ensure the foot derives maximal support, encourage pronation, and aid shock absorption. How to Choose Running Shoes for Supinated Feet When purchasing a running shoe for supinated feet, look for footwear that offers the following: Arch support Are you trying to decide if you need arch support? For supination, the simple answer is yes, as there are many benefits of arch support. Look for shoes with mid-foot arch support, as this compensates for excessive supination. Shoes without such arch support encourage supination and cause arch pain.Comfortable fit An oversized shoe increases the normal supination of the foot. Therefore, you should opt for shoes that are the right size for you, both in width and length.Heel cushioning A running shoe with extra cushioning at the heels will minimize the impact of the ground on your heel during a heel strike. The best cushions are soft, stable, and springy to allow for efficient energy absorption and transfer between the foot and the ground and vice versa. Thus, the heel cushioning protects the heel while you run, while guaranteeing efficient energy returns.Wide toe box Shoes with a narrow toe box restrict the movement of your feet and increase the likelihood of damage as a result of supination. With a wider toe box, the feet have room to spread after every stride, reducing the strain on the fascia and preventing conditions such as plantar fasciitis, which is common in people that supinate excessively.Ankle support and stability With increased supination, the pressure on the plantar fascia increases, leading to plantar fasciitis. To prevent this and other overuse ankle injuries, you should opt for shoes that are stable and provide extra ankle support.Neutral feel Cushioning or not, you still need a shoe that has the natural feel of the ground when you run. It may be necessary to ensure the shoe has a responsive cushion to ensure the feeling remains as natural as it can be with a high arch.Using orthotics Even if you find a shoe with all these features, a shoe alone cannot cure excessive supination. However, using the shoe in conjunction with an orthotic can be highly effective. This is especially important if you have pain while running, or your shoes do not fit correctly. Orthotics make it easier and more comfortable and pain-free to perform your activities of daily living and sport. Additionally, they help to reduce the chance of developing complications or future injuries due to the supination. Running With Supinated Feet Running with supinated feet places extra stress on the outer side of the foot. There will also be increased tension in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the lower limb as they work together to counterbalance the tension from the redistributed body weight. To address this, running with orthotics and proper footwear helps you to control foot motion and prevent further complications. It also gives you room to continue to work towards improving your technique, so you do not supinate excessively when running. Remember that finding the correct footwear is only one method of treating the complications of supination. Doing exercises and frequent stretches are two of the many other ways to treat excessive supination.