Everyone has somethingPronationIn running, it's the natural motion your foot makes when it hits the ground. Supination, also known as underpronation, is insufficient inward rolling of the foot when standing or after landingduring a run. Those with high arches are more prone to underpronation, or some muscle weakness in yourcalvesoranklecan also induce supination. Badly seatedrunning shoes, an inappropriaterunning gear, or earlierinjuriescan also cause this inward roll.
Runners who habitually supine put extra stress on the outside of the foot, which can create problems — ones you don't realize stem from the way your foot hits the ground.
To help you tell if you're an excessive supinator, learn about these telltale signs. Then follow the advice for relieving potentially harmful effects of supination.
How to tell if you are a supinator
1. Your shoes tilt to one side
When a supinator runs, the outside edge of their foot hits the ground first, explainsSteven Weinfeld, MD, an orthopedist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Because the foot does not roll sufficiently inward after landing, the impact force remains concentrated in that one specific part of the foot. An easy way to tell if you're doing this regularly is if your rtake off shoeswear out quickly and unevenly, with more damage to the outside of the shoe.
This uneven shoe wear, in turn, can aggravate supination (with less shock absorption on landing) and increase agaitwhere the impact of landing is not evenly distributed. To check if your shoes are worn unevenly, place them on a flat surface. If they tip outward, supination is likely at play.
2. Bone fractures and ankle sprains are common
Because supinators put more pressure on the outer part of their feet,The stress fracturethe fourth and/or fifth metatarsal — the large bones in the middle of your foot that connect to your fourth toe and pinky toe — can make you visit podiatrists more often than you would like. That's because those tiny toes do most of the work when you push off while running.
Supinators can also astress fractureon the fibula, which is the outer bone of your lower leg.
"A fibula fracture isn't very common, but supinators may put more stress on that area," she saysMarci Goolsby, MD, a primary care physician at the Women's Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
This extra pressure caused by supination can not only induce stress fractures, but also decrease ankle stability and increase the likelihood of rollingsprained an ankle, Weinfeld says.
3. They are stopped by shin splints
A supinated foot is less shock-absorbing, Weinfeld says, and walking on it repeatedly over time can cause itpain in the lower legCommonly known asshin edges.
Shin splints occur below the knee on either the front outside of the leg (anterior shin splints) or the inside of the leg (medial shin splints). Because supinators walk with most of their weight on the outside of their feet, they are more likely to experience anterior shin splints. (If you regularly deal with shin splints, caused by supination or not,Try these simple exercises that will help fix this problem area.)
4. Your calf and hamstring are super tight
This is a bit of a "chicken and egg dilemma," says Goolsby. people withtight Achilles tendonsAndWadenmuskelntend to be supinators because the extra stress can radiate up the outside of your foot and contract your other muscles. Conversely, tight Achilles tendons and calf muscles can cause (or worsen) supination.
If you find yourself chronically tense in one or both of these places, you may be -- or at risk of becoming -- a supinator.
5. You have stabbing plantar fasciitis pain
Supination and underpronation can put extra stress on the band known as the plantar fascia that connects the heel and toes. The result?Plantarfasziitis, a painful condition characterized by a sharp stab or deep pain in the middle of the heel or along the arch of the foot.
Plantarfasziitisis a common affliction of runners and can be caused by factors other than supination. Still, it's worth asking your doctor if there might be a connection.
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How to address supination
It's hard for the average person to know that supination is the underlying cause of any of the above issues, says Weinfeld.
"It often takes a whilephysiotherapist,Podologe, or another doctor to examine the foot alignment and diagnose the problem,” he says. A doctor can run tests to determine if you actually have supination (this usually involves walking or running on atreadmill), and if so, how severe - or rigid - your supination might be.
Supped feet that are "flexible" are easy to correct, while supinated feet that are "rigid" are much more difficult to fix, says Weinfeld. Theflexibilityor the rigidity of your supination may be genetic - or a factor in your age.
“People can start out in flexible supination, which turns into rigid supination as their bones age and become more arthritis,” says Weinfeld.
Once your supination has been diagnosed, there are several things you can do to help relieve the condition and associated discomfort:
1. Incorporate strength training
"Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to alleviate the negative effects of supinationtrain strength' says Goolsby. "It's important to be strong throughout the movement chain." She recommends focusing on thatbuttocksAndhip strengthening exercisesthat will add more stability to your ankle andfeet, which are often the first areas to be stressed by supination.
2. Get the right footwear
Replace yoursrunning shoesbefore they show significant wear on the outside, Weinfeld says. You can also consider visiting a shoe store for advice. Usually you want to be in more cushioned or neutral shoes that allow your feet to pronate more. Many of the big brand names, such asNike,Asics, AndSauconyhave supinator friendly shoes to get you going.
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3. Consider orthotics
Generally,orthosesare more difficult to build for underpronators vs.overpronators. "But sometimes side dishes play a role," says Goolsby. “The supplement would be less corrective and more delivery focuseddampingand a comfortable surface for your foot.” You can purchase supination-friendly orthotics at a shoe store, but a doctor will likely recommend custom-made orthotics.
4. Adopt a stretching routine
strainEveryone should do before and after a run, but it's especially important for supinators. RegularlyStretch your calves, Achilles tendons, shins, and ankles can help relieve tension that can cause or worsen your supination.
Jenny is a health and fitness journalist based in Boulder, Colorado. She freelances forRunner’s Worldsince 2015 and especially loves writing human interest profiles, in-depth service posts, and stories that explore the intersection of exercise and mental health. Her work has also been published bySELF,Men's magazine, AndConde Nast Traveler, among other outlets. When she's not running or writing, Jenny enjoys youth swimming lessons and readingHarry Potter, and to buy too many houseplants.