Which Way Do You Roll? Understanding Pronation And Supination

If you have frequent problems with your feet, especially if you're a runner, you may want to see a podiatrist for a gait evaluation. It's possible your feet roll to one side or the other, and this can lead to several different foot ailments. If your foot rolls to the inside, the condition is called overpronation. If it rolls to the outside, it is called oversupination. Here is a look at how these two gait abnormalities differ and how they are treated:

Pronation Of The Foot

When you walk or run, the shock and weight are distributed evenly across your foot by natural, slight foot rolls. When your heel lands, your foot rolls inward slightly and the outward before returning to a neutral position. The problem with excess pronation occurs when your foot rolls too far inward and doesn't counterbalance it with an outward roll. Overpronation gives your foot a flat appearance when you look it from the side as you stand. You'll also notice the shoes you wear frequently wear down on the inside of the heel.

This gait abnormality puts stress on your ankle and foot and it can lead to problems such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, and even bunions. It affects the tendons and ligaments from your foot up to your knee and can cause pain and injury. To correct this problem, your podiatrist can make an orthotic shoe insert that offers padding and protection to the inside of your heel to absorb shock. You should also consider buying shoes with a professional's help so you buy shoes designed for runners with overpronation. These have extra padding on the inside of the heel to stop your foot from rolling and to absorb the pressure when you land on your heel.

Supination Of The Foot

Supination of the foot is the opposite of pronation. It is a normal roll to the outside of the foot when you walk or run. If the roll is excessive then the gait is called oversupination or underpronation. Oversupination is not as common as overpronation, but it still can cause injury to your foot and ankle. Your foot doesn't absorb shock as well since it doesn't roll to the inside as much. The over-rotation of your foot affects the ligaments and tendons all the way up to your knee and it strains your lower leg.

You can tell you have this condition if your shoes wear down on the outside of the heel. However, to fully understand your gait, you should have it evaluated by a podiatrist using various means such as video monitoring and pressure mat testing. Oversupination causes problems such as ankle sprains, stress fractures, and shin splints. This gait abnormality can be treated with an orthotic insert and the correct running shoe that absorbs shock when your heel hits the pavement.

While overpronation and oversupination are not medical problems themselves, they can lead to other foot, ankle, leg, and knee problems that cause pain and inflammation. If you're a runner, you're at a higher risk of injury when you have a gait abnormality, and if you don't run, these conditions can still cause trouble by giving you frequent foot and ankle pain. A podiatrist can help correct these conditions so you reduce the risk of injury and avoid foot pain.

Contact a company like East Village Foot & Ankle Surgeons for more information and assistance.