Dr. Carlos Rebollón

Pronation and supination
in Panama

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Pronation and supination

Pronation and supination

Pronation and supination are two terms that refer to specific movements of an articulated area of the body (foot, hand, ankle, forearm, wrist or elbow); however, in this publication we will focus on the forms of pronation and supination of the lower limbs (foot and ankle).

Pronation and supination actions are necessary for the foot to remain balanced and to perform its natural movement when walking; however, when there is an excess of either of them, a misalignment of the body is created that can cause different injuries: deformities in the structures of the foot, sprains, breaks, among others.

Our role as orthopedists is to evaluate the patient, perform certain biomechanical gait analyses and test the statics and dynamics of both feet to check their alignment and give a concrete diagnosis.

What is foot pronation?

The word pronation is used to indicate that the foot is exerting a more predominant inward eversion movement during walking; when one or both feet have excessive pronation for a long time, it can generate an involuntary internal damage, for example: the sinking of the arch of the foot.

Pronation of the foot is a very common biomechanical problem, which can be intensified by various factors such as: age, overweight, routine work activities or intense sports practices.

Excessive pronation of the foot

Overpronation occurs when the arch of the foot turns strongly inward when stepping, resulting in a condition known as “flat feet” where the sole of the foot completely touches the ground.

Excessive pronation of the foot is the frequent cause of heel pain, calluses, instability, plantar fasciitis, cramps, etc., and is even more evident in athletes and professional runners.

What is supination of the foot?

In supination, an inversion process occurs where the body weight tends to lean towards the outer edge of the foot, which ends up being the opposite action to pronation.

The very pronounced supination of the foot generates a considerable amount of tension in the muscles and tendons that give stability to the ankle; additionally, it causes the foot to lose the capacity to absorb impacts in a normal way, bringing another series of disadvantages at the moment of walking.

Que Es La Pronacion Del Pie
Como Saber Si Tengo Pronacion O Supinacion En Los Pies

How do I know if I have pronation or supination in my feet?

There is a very easy way to tell if you have pronation or supination of the foot, and that is to check the sole of your shoe. A shoe worn on the inside indicates that you have a pronator foot, but if the wear occurs on the outside you are a supinator.

People generally have a full life with mild pronation and supination in their feet. However, for those who are involved in professional sports, it is essential to know exactly the anatomy of their feet, so they can be much more efficient athletes.

Treatments for pronation and supination of the foot

Orthopedists have some practical methods to correct pronation, overpronation and supination. Most of them, we do them with controlled activities and exercises focused on reeducating the gait and improving the balance of the feet.

Some of the most commonly used treatments for this type of lower body problem are:

Gait retraining activities.

Exercise routines to strengthen and stretch the affected muscles, tissues, tendons and ligaments (according to each case).

Change of footwear for a more suitable one.

Use of stabilizing orthopedic insoles.

Exercises to promote joint stability.

Differences between pronation and supination of the foot

Many people find it difficult to differentiate pronation from supination, as both are part of the complex joint mechanics of the lower body. However, both movements are opposites as they are opposite parts of the same foot.

As indicated at the beginning of this page, pronation causes impact on the inside of the foot, while supination alters the dynamics of the foot by turning it to its outer side.

Currently, these terms have gained great relevance, especially in the sports field. The good news is that even if you are a pronator or supinator athlete, you can find sports shoes with special reinforcements regardless of the inclination of your feet.

Tratamientos Para La Pronacion Y Supinacion Del Pie

Frequently asked questions about pronation and supination of the foot

More and more people are beginning to notice some kind of deformity in their feet; for this reason, we will solve the most common doubts about this issue…

Hyperpronation or overpronation can lead to deviation of the footprint and generate an abnormal ankle sprain that is painful and very difficult to treat.

People with pronator foot with repercussions in the ankle experience symptoms such as pain, instability, constant muscle tension, joint wear and tear and lowering of the plantar vault “flat feet”. The lack of stability caused by pronation increases the risk of various injuries.

Each individual’s gait is unique and even if you notice that your foot leans more to one side than the other, this does not mean that you need to be treated; however, it never hurts to visit your doctor to get a personalized study of your gait (if you think this is affecting your performance).

Now, when the person begins to feel pain, instability, cramps or weakness when standing, walking or running, it is very important to make an appointment with the orthopedist in order to discover the source of the problem.

The orthopedist will assess the peroneal muscles, joint alterations, degree of supination or pronation, ankle flexibility and will try to rule out any other damage to the lower limbs.

Yes, there are hundreds of corrective insoles on the market that provide proper foot alignment; however, these should not be purchased lightly.

Our suggestion is to follow the orthopedist’s instructions and look for the orthopedic insoles that he/she has recommended according to your degree of pronation and the other anatomical characteristics of your foot. Sometimes, many of these insoles are custom-made based on the patient’s needs.

As with insoles, supination correction should be given on an individualized basis along with the guidelines established by your orthopedist. In these cases, exercises to strengthen the entire lower body (hips, glutes, ankles and feet), elastic band activities, gait re-education and more are suggested.

  • Learn to recognize your footprint type.
  • Buy the right footwear for your condition.
  • Before each workout, stretch and warm up properly.
  • Perform exercises to improve your stride.
  • At the first sign of pain or discomfort when your feet touch the ground, consult the orthopedist!
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