What is Supination in Relation to Your Feet and Gait?


Baliston shoes offer fitted insoles that help adjust for overpronation and oversupination. While it might seem simple on the surface, walking is as complex and unique as we are. From heart rate to muscle function, taking a step synthesizes many essential bodily functions. This makes understanding how we walk central to our well-being – each footfall contains essential information about our overall health.

Most people don’t evenly distribute their weight when they move. Supination and its opposite, pronation, are terms that describe where someone puts most of their weight when they walk or run. Walkers that supinate tend to put more weight on the outside of their foot, while walkers that pronate tend to put more weight on the inside of their foot. Both supination and pronation are entirely normal. All healthy walkers naturally distribute their weight in different ways.

Nothing in particular causes supination. Everyone is born with physical differences caused by genetic predispositions, which influence how we move. Muscle strength or weakness around the feet, ankles, and calves, in addition to anatomical particularities of the arches and imbalanced leg lengths, can all impact weight distribution at a young age. These differences can turn into preferences or habitual movement patterns over time. Supination tends to be more common in athletes and people who love to run or jog, but it may also simply result from predispositions, preferences, or patterns.

Supination vs. Pronation: What is ideal for your walking health?

There is no uniform way that everyone should walk. Although supination is less common than pronation, your ideal walking style depends entirely on you. That said, there is a difference between healthy supination and unhealthy supination. As you walk, here are some things to be aware of about supination and how they might impact your health:

  1. How is your weight distributed across each individual foot when you take a step? If you notice some degree of supination, is it the same on both feet? If the degree of supination differs from foot-to-foot, you may encounter additional issues with your walking down the road.
  2. How much do you supinate? If you tend to supinate and experience lower leg or knee problems, you might be over-supinating. Other symptoms of over-supination include shin splints, heel or arch pain, corns or calluses, back pain, and toe issues like hammer toes, mallet toes, or claw toes. People with high arches or tight Achilles tendons are more likely to supinate.
  3. Has your degree of supination increased over time? Any changes in your gait can be a sign that your walking health or overall health is changing. Increased supination over time is no different. If you notice a shift, it’s probably time to seek professional advice.
  4. Is another injury causing you to supinate? Even injuries seemingly unrelated to your feet can trickle down to impact your walking health. Take any injury seriously and attend to it as soon as possible to prevent additional complications and potentially lasting damage.
  5. What shoes do you wear, and how are they impacting your walk? It is vital to wear properly-fitted shoes that support your walking health– ill-fitting or poorly made shoes can cause anatomical misalignment or misdirect your weight, potentially contributing to or exacerbating supination. If a shoe is causing you to supinate, it’s time to get a new shoe.

While usually not as severe as overpronation, which can more severely impact the knees and hips, supination tends to put more strain on the ankles, leading to discomfort and other issues. Excessive supination can lead to the development of pain regions on the outer foot, heel, ankle, and elsewhere, which can impact and impede your walking health. And because excessive supination means that your body weight is unevenly distributed on the outside of your foot, supination can also predispose you to other injuries such as strains and sprains. .

How can you recognize excessive supination?

Knowing the difference between an average degree of supination and excessive supination in your walk can be difficult. One way to investigate your degree of supination is to assess the wear pattern of your shoes. If they are more worn on the outside, this can be a sign you are over-supinating.

However, examining wear patterns will only give you a small piece of the overall picture. To understand how supination may impact your walking health, it’s important to use dynamic assessments like the gait-analysis technology found in Baliston shoes, to detect variations in your walk.

Baliston's footwear service helps to assess any supination in the larger context of your other movement patterns and overall health, providing you insights and recommendations to help relieve pain, reduce fatigue, and prevent injury. Providing this holistic coaching critical, because it's typically not just one factor that negatively impacts your walking health, but many factors working together.

Even small changes in the way you walk over time can cause more serious health problems in the future. Paying attention to your feet and investing in your walking health will empower you with the information and confidence you need to go the distance.


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