Supination, or walking on the outside of the foot, is a bad habit that can be instantly recognized. The foot doesn’t sit in a natural position in the shoe and parts of the shoe, such as the inner side, are walked on. However, this is not simply an aesthetic issue and should not be taken lightly. Supination can also occur in children. What causes supination, how can it be prevented and what are the tell-tale signs?
What causes supination?
When someone has over supination, it’s not always for one single reason. There can be many causes behind it. What are the most common?
Undoubtedly you’ve seen or even worn slippers, flip-flops, winter boots, canvas shoes and other soft shoes. These are primarily loose-fitting shoes that do not hold the foot in the right position. However, the footwear itself may not necessarily be the main cause, rather it is the result of poor foot position. So, if possible, wear sturdy and roomy shoes with a toe box that is wide enough so that it will not pinch your feet and will also keep them in the right position. Ideally, choose footwear depending on the activity (walking, sports, etc.).
Following an injury, especially in the lower limbs, there may be an incorrect gait pattern that overburdens the other limb or some of its parts, and thus supination. The main problem here is not the resulting gait, but the fact that overloading certain parts can lead to health complications, such as collapsed arches and the associated flat feet, bunions, etc.
Why do we see supination even in children? Genetics can also be to blame, causing poor foot position, knock knees or a collapsed foot arch. If this is the case, you need to see a doctor to help prevent more serious complications. This is most often addressed in the form of orthopaedic insoles or active exercising under the guidance of a physiotherapist.
Incorrect gait can not only ruin your favourite shoes but can also lead to other problems. What should good walking technique look like? It first starts with the correct stance, correct posture and then stepping, which involves bending the ankle and evenly distributing the weight on the foot. This is discussed in more detail in the article Proper Walking Technique.
The problem may not be just in the lower limbs
Most people probably associate supination with the feet, ankles or poor stepping. However, the problem can also be found much higher up. Most often, supination is the result of a “chain reaction”. This, for instance, can start with the pelvis. As soon as the pelvis is tilted back a little, such as when bending over, the hips can turn inwards. This automatically causes the knees to roll inwards, which can shorten the internal ligaments. Because of this position, the ankles also fall inwards leading to supination. This is the basic description of knock knees.
What to do about it? The first thing to do is to focus on the cause of the problem, which could even be shortened back muscles. Once the cause of the problem has been identified, focus on eliminating it. Then the different parts of the body can gradually be put into the right position, usually by using active exercises under the supervision of a physiotherapist. However, exercises are not the only remedy, there is also suitable footwear or trying to achieve the correct gait. And remember that prevention is always better than cure. Our Foot Alignment Socks can help you with that.