The way we walk, run and move can have a significant impact on our joints, particularly those in our knees, feet and ankles. However, many people may not realize that they tend to walk in such a way that could make them more susceptible to injury. Read on to learn more about pronation and supination of the feet and how to help prevent injury associated with uneven weight distribution.
What Are Pronation and Supination?
Pronation and supination of the feet are terms used to describe two different mechanics in the way people walk or run. Ideally, your weight will be distributed evenly across your foot and ankle as you move, creating a straight line from your heel to your knee.
- Pronation happens when you place more weight on the inside of your foot, causing the foot and ankle to lean slightly inward.
- Supination happens when you place more weight on the outside of your foot, causing the foot and ankle to lean slightly outward.
In many cases, people are simply born with a tendency to walk with pronated or supinated feet. In some instances, a previous injury may cause gait changes.
How Can Gait Affect Foot Health?
Both of these gait variances can place uneven stress on the loaded side of your foot and ankle, which can cause knee, foot or ankle pain, shin splints, heel spurs, sprains or other injuries.
Preventing Foot and Ankle Injury
To help prevent foot and ankle injuries that may be caused by pronation or supination, you can work with a podiatrist or physical therapist on exercises and stretches to achieve a more neutral gait. Additionally, be sure to wear properly fitting shoes and/or insoles, and note if your shoes are unevenly wearing on the inside or outside. If so, it may be time to replace them.
For more information about how to straighten your gait to prevent injury or to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced podiatrists, call our Gaithersburg office at 301-948-2995 or contact us online.