What Is Supination? And Do You Have It?

If your feet lean outward when you walk, you could have a condition called supination. But there are things you can do that will allow you to walk with greater stability, make yourself less prone to injury and decrease the aches and pains you feel in your body because your feet aren’t aligned properly.

Actually, however, some supination and pronation — when your feet roll inward as walk — is common and normal. If you don’t have pain, see uneven wear on your shoes or have trouble with turning your ankle or falling, you may not have enough supination to be concerned.

But when your foot rolls outward, most of your body’s weight moves to the outside of the foot, raising your arch and putting extreme pressure on some parts of your body, causing them to work in ways they weren’t designed to work. Over time, this can lead to foot structural problems and pain.

Supination is a compound movement that involves a number of processes at once, including inversion, adduction and plantar flexion. That means there are many ways pain can result from it.

And it isn’t just your foot that can develop problems from supination. The lateral rotation force on your shin, knee and thigh puts a high level of stress on ligaments and tendons in your lower leg, causing a world of problems. In addition, you can appear bow-legged — as if the bones in your lower leg were actually bowed instead of it just being your feet that bow outward.

Supination Symptoms

While the most obvious symptoms of supination are the appearance of your feet or legs bowing outward as you stand, some cases are subtle and not as obvious. Other symptoms that could be misdiagnosed include:

- pain in the knee, hip or lower back
- instability in the ankle
- ligament damage or pain, including Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis
- spinal vertebrae that are out of alignment
- and more.

If you have more wear on your shoes toward the outside than toward the inside, that’s one sign you may supinate. You may also have a callus on the outer edge of your foot, a bump at the back of your heel or a bunion on the outside of your foot.

If your foot has an extremely high arch or your foot seems less springy than it once was because it has lost of its natural shock absorbing abilities, this could cause supination and, in turn, cause pain in all parts of your feet.

How Shoe Insoles Help

You may feel we here at FootCareDepot.com recommend shoe insoles for just about everything, but that’s because they work to solve a variety of foot problems. (And we don’t mention foot problems that we don’t know how to solve.)

Many shoe insoles are designed with stability in mind — like Spenco’s Total Support line. Many have deep heel cups and other features designed to prevent supination and pronation.

If you’re not sure what brand to start with, try Spenco first. You can’t go wrong with this premium brand with the affordable price tag. And you can eliminate your supination problem and get on with the activities you enjoy.