How to Correct Supination: Stretches, Exercises, Orthotics, & More
Updated March 27, 2023.
Supination, 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.
- 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.
- 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.