Supination of the Foot Painful Yet Controllable
Supination, or underpronation, is an outward rolling of the foot, causing sufferers to often wear through the outer seams of their shoes. They have difficulty running because of the extra pain resulting from the runner’s full body weight coming down on the blade of the foot before the foot rolls in. Even stress fractures may occur with supination of the foot.
The primary set of exercises to correct supination are heel and calf stretches. Combined with a calf and thigh-strengthening routine, they allow the foot to rotate more freely while holding it in place with the stronger muscles. Such flat foot exercises include:
- Quadriceps stretches: You grab your toes behind you and pull gently for 15 seconds.
- Calf stretches: You stand against the wall with both hands touching your sides and with one leg behind you, heel flat on the floor, for roughly 20 seconds.
- Thigh lifts: You lie on your side and raise your upper leg as far as you can and bring it back, doing this 20 times per leg.
When it comes to stretches, even those to correct supination of the foot, never bounce. Instead, apply constant, gentle pressure to achieve the stretch. People with underpronation must also strengthen their ankles, and there are several ankle alignment exercises that also build strength, including:
- Sitting toe raises, 15 – 20 repetitions per set
- Standing toe raises, 15 – 20 repetitions per set
- Heel walking
- Towel pulls
A towel pull involves putting your bare foot on the center of a towel while lying on the floor and grabbing it with your toes. Then, you take the two ends of the towel and lift your heel while pulling the towel taut. Hold for 10 seconds. If you have them, you can use exercise bands for this one, but a towel is sufficient.
Balance is crucial, too, because it can keep the body aligned in even the worst situations. To practice enhancing your balance, play catch with a partner while standing on one leg. Switch legs every 30 throws. Have your partner throw the ball high, low and to each side. Once you get better, you can do “half squats.” These involve holding one leg out straight and doing squats with your other leg. Do these in sets of 15. It will not only increase your balance but also increase the strength of your quadriceps and hamstring.
Once you develop your balance to a keen edge, you can do simple, explosive exercises to strengthen your calf, thigh and ankle. One such exercise is the scissor hop. You stand with one foot in front of the other. Then, while jumping, you switch the position of your feet before landing. Do this one 10 times, rest for 20 seconds and then do 10 more. You can also do the “tiptoe run.” Over about 50 feet, take long, exaggerated steps on your toes at about half running speed. Every 50 feet is a “rep.” Do 10 reps.
Before attempting this last set of exercises, be sure to have the right shoes.
The right shoes are those designed to reduce underpronation. Insoles, orthotics and arch supports are useful, too, in conjunction with such shoes, especially when you’re under the care of a physical therapist, doctor or both for your flat feet symptoms. Contact The Active Foot Store today to help you find those quality shoes with a pronation test and start shedding that crippling leg and foot pain that comes with supination of the foot.