Pronation and Supination
Pronation and supination characterize the manner in which your foot strikes the ground when you run or walk. For runners, or impactful moves, a foot that rolls either too far inward (pronation) or too far outward (supination) can lead to foot issues or injuries.
To differentiate, supination (or underpronation) characterizes a foot strike that lands on the outer edge of the foot. Whereas pronation describes foot and ankle that rolls inward. Obviously, a foot strike that bears too much imbalanced weight, on the inside or outside, can lead to chronic pain and injury.
Main Supination Culprits
Supination, or underpronation, can be the fault of body mechanics, improper or old footwear, or even running too much on uneven surfaces, according to biomechanics expert, Geoffrey Alan Gray, who works with Ahnu Footwear.
Gray points out that natural supination can be the result of several issues—including heel, ball, or ankle misalignment; foot flexibility, foot strength, or even too rigid joints. Underpronation over the long term, can cause hip or knee injuries.
According to foot experts, the easiest way to tell if you supinate or pronate is to consult your running shoes. For instance, underpronating feet (or feet that role out) tend to wear out the outside, or lateral, edge of their sneakers shoe. On the other hand, overpronators will show wear on the inner, or medial, edge of their soles.
If you have a healthy, balanced neutral foot strike pattern, you’ll see wear in the middle of the bottom sole. Always follow up your suspicions with a professional, who can provide a proper gait analysis (i.e., a physical therapist, running coach, or podiatrist).