Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
While the movement of walking seems perfectly natural, it is actually a succession of complex movements involving a large number of muscles, ligaments and joints that must be coordinated to achieve a balance that distributes the pressure over the entire foot. This coordination and distribution are essential to avoid deformation of the joints and overloading of certain muscles and tendons that could cause pain. Since walking is an essential daily activity, it is important to pay attention to this question and especially to be aware of the malfunctions such as pronation and supination which are the most frequent, especially since these two situations can cause disorders, pain and injuries to the feet.
Definition of foot pronation and supination
Pronation and supination are positions of the foot and ankle that affect the mechanism of walking and running, resulting in a poor distribution of body weight on the foot. In the case of pronation, we are dealing with a foot that turns inward as an adult. This has the consequence of modifying the foot’s support and concentrating the body weight on the inner part of the foot, resulting in an inwardly turning foot. Supination presents the opposite phenomenon with a foot that turns outward as an adult, in the same way the weight of the body is supported essentially on the external part of the arch of the foot when walking. These two types of dysfunctions exist to varying degrees. For example, we can hear about overpronation and hyperpronation of the foot when the foot is twisted inward and the arch of the foot collapses inward during walking.
How to prevent pronation and supination of the feet
In order to prevent pronation and supination of the feet, this phenomenon should be detected before anything else. This can be done quite easily, for example, by observing your running shoes when you practice it. Wear and tear of the running shoes will indeed be an excellent indicator of the type of stride. Wear on the front, but rather in the middle, indicates a universal stride, while more wear on the inside and front will suggest a pronator stride and wear on the outer parts will be in favor of a supinator stride. The most common causes of pronation and supination are two: hereditary and congenital malformation. However, whatever the exact cause, the phenomena remain globally identical. The ligaments soften beyond the norm, as do the muscles, which no longer allow for good support of the joint, which gradually becomes deformed with a rotation of the foot, resulting in an outwardly turning foot. Depending on the internal or external rotation of the foot, the result will then be a pronating or supinator foot. These conditions can be accentuated by wearing unsuitable footwear and may result in severe foot and ankle pain. It is then necessary to turn to a healthcare professional to establish a diagnosis and consider appropriate treatments to correct the posture and re-align the joint to remedy the deformity and the symptoms it causes.
Consequences and problems of pronation and supination of the feet
These dysfunctions during walking will cause a deformation of the joint, but also of the muscles and ligaments that support it and will affect the plantar arch. Notable and easily detected consequences include foot pain, foot injury, difficulty walking, foot fatigue and heel pain. Complications can also occur such as tendonitis that can affect the Achilles tendon or lower tibial muscle, ankle sprains, bunions in the foot, hallux valgus, calcaneal varus or plantar fasciitis. Since these conditions are generally genetic or congenital in origin, they develop in childhood and can therefore affect a child’s walking and worsen over the years. It is therefore preferable to treat them early to limit the intensity of foot supination or pronation. To this end, it is essential to make an appointment with a specialized health professional or podiatric clinic who will be able to propose the most appropriate rapid treatment to remedy this problem.
How to correct supination and pronation
In order to correct a supinator foot or the pronation of the foot, the advice of a podiatrist like our doctor is necessary. At the appointment with the Podiatrist or Sports Chiropodist, a thorough clinical examination will be performed to highlight the condition of the foot and ankle joints. During this examination, the professional will examine the ankle and foot at rest, but also the physiology of movement. Complementary exams such as X-rays can also be performed in order to establish a precise diagnosis. Based on this diagnosis, as well as the patient’s age, the health professional will propose an adapted treatment plan. Thus, in younger children treated early, orthoses can be put in place in order to modify the position of the joint as soon as possible. The specialist can also recommend exercises to be performed regularly in order to promote the alignment of the joint. This type of therapy proves to be very effective before the age of 5 years to rectify these conditions permanently. However, it will be essential to continue this treatment until the end of the child’s growth to ensure a long-term result, which implies regular orthotic changes. It is obviously possible to act also in adulthood thanks to the installation of prefabricated or custom-made orthoses. These will take into account not only the pathology to be treated, but also the symptoms and the severity of the deformity. Furthermore, in addition to foot orthoses, the Patient is advised to choose to look for adapted and stable footwear.
If you would like to be examined to find out if excessive pronation is a potential cause of your condition, call today to book an appointment at our podiatry clinic in Montreal.