Supination of the foot is the term used to describe the motion of the foot that increases the height of the arch. A supinated foot is a foot with a high arch. To supinate means that the foot is rolling out and gaining an arch. Pronation, on the other hand, refers to a foot that is rolling in and flattening the arch. A pronated foot is a flatfoot.
A foot that is mildly supinated may work for a lifetime without symptoms while a foot that is very supinated can indicate many different types of problems. Rigid, supinated feet in young adults may indicate Charcot-Marie Tooth Disease. In older adults, a supinated foot may be due to a tendon rupture of the peroneus longus tendon. Typically, supinated feet are a rigid foot type. Pronated feet, on the other hand, are usually flexible in children and grow to be progressively more rigid in adults. The high arch in a supinated foot can be difficult to treat when foot problems occur.
Once the terms pronation and supination are understood, they become an effective way to communicate with others regarding foot problems. One example is when you go to the shoe store to shop for shoes. You know the feeling; you walk into the running store and there, facing you, are dozens of shoes with bells and whistles like air bladders and springs. How can you tell them apart from one another? What makes for a good choice? Well, now that you know about pronation and supination, you have a jump on the average shoe customer. Here's why: most pronated feet will lose the normal curvature of the foot from the heel to the toe, while supinated feet will increase in curvature. When I say curvature, think of the footprint you'd make when you get out of the pool. Is it straight or curved? When shopping for running shoes this is important due to the fact that running shoes come in different types of lasts. The last defines the curvature of the bottom of the foot, so a pronated foot requires a straight last shoe while a supinated foot requires a curved last shoe. Shopping for shoes can become much easier once you’re familiar with these two terms. Supination and pronation are the two most common terms used when discussing the biomechanical properties of the feet.
When to contact your doctor
Contact your podiatrist for additional information on supination.
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Cite this article as: Oster, Jeffrey. Supintation. http://www.myfootshop.com/article/supination
Most recent article update: February 28th, 2018.
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