The feet serve various purposes in a human’s daily life. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to stand properly and move effortlessly on the ground. Walking using our feet involves various movements, and two of them revolve around the proper shock absorption of our soles, toes, heels, and ankles while walking or running. One of these movements is pronation, while the other is supination.
Both pronation and supination naturally occur to absorb shock, but they are different from each other in terms of what exactly they do to the various parts of our feet.
Difference Between Supination and Pronation
Pronation is the inward movement in our foot, while supination is the outward motion. The biggest toes are the ones that are absorbing the most shock during pronation, and the ones getting the most impact during supination are our smallest toes.
When our feet touch the ground, it first supinates once the heel lands, and then it will quickly pronate, allowing the feet to distribute the shock made while landing evenly.
But sometimes these motions would become overextended, causing irregularities in how our feet properly function. Excessive pronation is called overpronation, while exaggerated supination comes in many names, but the most commonly used is underpronation, which means that there is not enough pronating movement in our foot since it rolls too much outwards.
During underpronation or over-supination, our feet are bent slightly outwards while we are walking or running, which puts too much pressure on our smallest toes and our heels since this is not a natural movement. Our biggest toes are intended to absorb the highest impact, but our smallest toes are not, so if there is too much pressure in our tiny toes, the uneven distribution of shock would cause pain and discomfort in our foot and will eventually lead to injuries like shin splints and plantar fasciitis.
Besides our feet, our knees will also suffer from over-supination as they will also move awkwardly outward due to the irregularities with how we move. In addition, our ankles roll outward and put too much stress on the muscles and ligament on the outer sides of our foot.
There are many causes as to why some of us over-supinate. Most people who experience over-supination tend to have very high arches in their feet, which elevates the inner sides of the foot and puts too much weight on the smaller toes and the heel.
The defect in our foot’s movement can also be inherited from our parents. Those who have abnormal foot widths and leg lengths are prone to having over-supination.
Previous injuries that occurred in your foot may be one of the reasons why you over-supinate as well, as weakness in specific parts of the foot that are prone to injuries like its muscles, ligaments, or tendons can cause imbalances in movement.
To check if you over-supination, check the outsoles of your shoes and look for any wear. If the wear is deeper or heavier in the outer side of the shoes, then it signifies that you over-supinate. It can also be seen if your shoes are tilting outwards due to uneven wear.
Those who are affected with over-supination must consult a doctor immediately so that the symptoms won’t worsen. Medical experts will often suggest several treatments to alleviate the pain and discomfort that occurs by over-supinating, and here are some of them.
Treatments for Over-Supination
One of the best ways to treat the symptoms of over-supination is by wearing perfectly fitted shoes. You must avoid wearing stiff shoes or even high heels as they most likely cause more pain for your foot, so you should stick to lightweight and flexible shoes like the ones used for running.
Moreover, make sure that the size of the shoes that you are buying fits you well, as footwear that is too small or too big can create more problems than solutions for your over-supination.
In addition, you can also add special insoles in your shoes that are designed to correct the movement of your foot when you over-supinate. Some shoe inserts can also give you adequate heel and arch support to relieve the pain caused by accidental supination.
Another method that you can do to reduce over-supination is by correcting your walking or running form. Be mindful of which part of your foot typically lands on the ground first. If you over-supinate, try not to put pressure on the outer sides of your feet and your heels; instead, you should aim to land on your midfoot for even shock absorption.
While it is true that runners are often the ones who are prone to injuries due to over-supination, the defect in our feet’s movement can still present significant problems even if we are just standing since our foot cannot support our body weight adequately. But thanks to the treatment methods that have been developed using hundreds of research studies, people who are getting injuries from the defect are lessening over the years.