Running supination: How to identify and fix it!

What does feet supination mean?

Supination, also known as underpronation, is the insufficient inward roll of the foot while standing or after landing during a run.

The best way to assess supination while standing is through a postural assessment ( stance analysis ) with a camera system and/or force plate that senses the forces your feet produce on the ground.

Instead, the best way to assess your supination during a run is through a running analysis system.

If you are not a runner, but you want to find out if you suffer from supination during a walk, the best way to assess it is through a gait analysis system.

Most common causes of supination

Different causes can lead to the supination of your feet. The most common causes that can determine a foot’s supination are:

  1. Feet with a high arch.
  2. Muscle weakness of the foot pronation muscles.
  3. Excessive stiffness of the foot supination muscles.
  4. Improper Gait or Running ( neuromuscular component ).
  5. Ill-fitting running shoes. 

How to tell if you suffer from supination during running?

When runners suffer from supination, their feet land on the external part of the heel-midfoot or forefoot. For this reason, there is extra stress on the outer side of the foot.

When a supinator runs, the outside of the heel of their foot hits the ground first. So the force of impact remains concentrated on the outer part of the foot, loading the entire body weight on it during the landing phase of running.

An easy way to tell if you are running like a supinator is if your running shoes wear out quickly and unevenly, with more breakdown on the outer side of the shoe.

In turn, this uneven wear of the shoe can make supination even worse because there is less shock absorption where you are landing, and this can further increase the landing forces acting on the outer foot.

If you want to check precisely by yourself the entity of your supination, please follow the tips in our blog post( The 3 Best Running Parameters To Improve Your Running Performance ) where we explain how to make a homemade video running analysis system to check some parameters of running techniques such as running supination.

Supination shown in our running analysis report

In our running lab in London, we have been analyzing many runners with supination. 

Our high-tech running analysis system records many data about running supination. These data are both analytical data and video analysis data.

The four images below show the moments when our video analysis system catch the landing phase of the runner’s feet. The images show how the foot is in excessive supination landing with the outer side of the feet.

The video running analysis below shows all the running biomechanics and the feet pressures map that runner produces interacting with the ground. From the 3d running scan, you can see how the first peak of forces is located on the outer forefoot (4th-5th metatarsal ), and after shifts in the middle of the foot and first metatarse.

The other image below shows the butterfly parameters of running. These parameters are included the single gait line of the right and left foot and the butterfly graph that includes all the gait lines and the center of forces of the body’s runner.

The first image on the left-hand side comes from a runner with supination, instead, the one on the right-hand side comes from a runner with quite good running technique and without a supination issue.

Furthermore, the runner with supination is affected by excessive forefoot running as the gait line is distributed only on the upper part of the forefoot.

The supination is evidenced by the almost horizontal gait line running from the outer foot to the first metatarsal.

Risks of injury from running supination

The runners who are affected by supination have a higher risk of getting injuries. 

The most common injuries from supination are:

  1. Stress fractures.
  2. Ankle sprains.
  3. Shin splints.
  4. Plantar fasciitis.
  5. Stiffness on calves, plantar flexor, and supination muscles.

Because supinators place more pressure on the outer part of their feet, stress fractures can occur on the fourth and/or fifth metatarsal which are the large bones in the middle of your foot connected to your fourth and fifth toes.

Supinators may also develop a stress fracture of the fibula, the outside bone of the lower leg as the pressure of the outer foot transmits the landing forces up on the outer part of the leg.


The extra pressure on the outer part of the foot can diminish ankle stability and increase the likelihood of spraining an ankle. For this reason, supinators are more likely to experience lateral ankle sprain.

As supinators absorb less shock through the feet they transmit more force and pressure up to the shin ( Tibia bone ) increasing the possibility of getting shin splints. As supinators run with the majority of their weight on the outer part of their feet, they are more likely to experience anterior shin splints with pain localized on the front outside part of the leg.

Supination can create extra stress on your plantar fascia, the ligament connecting your heel and toes. For this reason, the supinators are more likely to get plantar fasciitis.

Calves and foot’s plantar flexors muscle stiffness can be both a cause or a consequence of supination.

4 Tips to address your running supination

The success of correcting or reducing the running supination depends on how severe or rigid the supination may be. In fact, supinated feet that are “flexible” are easily corrected, whereas supinated feet that are “rigid” are much harder to fix. 

The flexibility or rigidity of your supination could be determined by different factors such as genetics, age, the body’s postural issues, or neuromuscular activations.

For example, the supination study case evidenced above is quite a flexible supination as there is a certain rolling inward of the foot after the landing that distributes the forces in the middle of the foot. So the foot is not too rigid concentrating the landing forces only on the outer foot.

There are some things you can do to address your running supination:


1. Foot pronation muscles strengthening

Very often, during our running assessment, we found weak foot pronation muscles and/or stiff supination muscles.

This muscle imbalance induces excessive foot supination at rest too.

The foot pronation muscles are located on the front external part of the lower leg ( shin ) and they are:

  1. Extensor Digitorum Longus Muscle.
  2. Fibularis Longus Muscle
  3. Fibularis Brevis Muscle.
  4. Fibularis Terzius Muscle.

So strengthening the foot’s pronation muscles can help to correct foot supination.


Foot Pronation Muscles
Foot Pronation Muscles

2. Reduce the foot supination muscles' stiffness

Excessive foot supination muscle can be the cause of foot supination both during running and at rest ( supine position of the body ).

The foot’s supination muscles are located both on the front and back of the lower leg and are:

Supination Muscles on the shin

  1. Tibialis Anterior Muscle.
  2. Extensor Allucis Longus Muscle.

Supination Muscles on the Back Leg

  1. Tibialis Posterior Muscle.
  2. Flexor Digitorum Longus Muscle.
  3. Flexor Hallucis Longus Muscle.

The best way to reduce muscle stiffness by yourself is to do stretching exercises.

On our website, you find a complete visual stretching guide and a specific page dedicated to calf and foot stretching that is specific to engage the foot supination muscles.

Self-massage technique and foam rolling both on the front and back leg can help to reduce muscle stiffness too.

Asking the help to your trusted Sports Therapist to get a Sports Massage can help ease the foot supination muscles more specifically.

3. Improve and correct your foot strike with neuromuscular training

Sometimes, the most important cause of running supination is the neuromuscular activation of the foot supination muscles.

This excessive activation of foot supination muscles can be corrected with neuromuscular training during running. It consists of stimulating the runner to correct its foot supination by activating the foot pronation muscles.

You can train yourself with this neuromuscular training system following the tips of our blog post about how to make a homemade video running analysis system already mentioned above.

Otherwise, we can help you with that as in our running lab in London, we have designed a specific Running Technique Training service that, thanks to a real-time video and 3D feet scan feedback, is able to train the runner to correct all the running technique issues.


4. Replace your running shoes regularly

As supinators stress more the outer part of the feet, their running shoes wear out quickly and unevenly. This diminishes the padding function of the shoes increasing the forces acting on the outer foot and the inclination in supination of the landing foot.

For this reason, runners affected by supination should change their shoes earlier than normal. Check the condition of your shoes after 200-300 km of running.

Our last tip, despite not strictly related to running supination, is to consider seriously the health of your feet, as they are the pillars of our body’s posture, and they could be the cause of many other musculoskeletal issues.

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