Gait Cycle Pronation and Supination

Now let’s look at Pronation and Supination in the gait cycle.
What is Pronation and what is Supination, you ask? All will be revealed.
I’ve manage to find this gem of a video as an introduction for you.
And it ties in nicely with our previous article on the Gait Cycle.

So let’s summarise this:
Pronation and Supination are completely normal mechanisms found in running and walking

In Pronation:

  • the foot rolls inward on contact
  • Pronation helps the body to dissipate forces on contact
  • Pronation allows the foot to compensate for varied terrain

In Supination:

  • the foot rolls outward
  • Supination transforms the foot into a rigid structure and act as a lever, aiding in forward propulsion

In the gait cycle:

  • Contact phase is all about cushioning/dissipation and adaption (using Pronation)
  • stance phase is all about stability
  • at mid stance the foot stops Pronating and begin Supinating
  • the video’s propulsion stance is equivalent to our terminal stance (heel stance and toe off)

Given Pronation and Supination are needed in the gait cycle, biomechanical abnormalities can occur:

The Rear Foot Over-Pronator

  • may have bow legs
  • may have an out toed gait
  • the foot rotates and collapses inwards when view from the rear

The Mid Foot Over-Pronator

  • In midstance, a foot that should be supinating is still pronating. A pronated foot is inherently unstable.
  • Mid foot pronation is a discrepancy in timing.

For the Over Pronator- overloading of muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones may occur, leading to injury. Look for a lowered arch on loading of the foot.

For shoes designed to correct for the over pronator, you will most commonly find a medial post. A part of the midsole, on the medial side (inside, under the arch of the foot) which is made of denser material. As the foot pronates, the medial post stops the internal rotation of the foot, assisting the foot to go into supination. Take a look at the Asics shoe.

Mizuno have come up with a different mechanism, with their wave plate technology. The shoe on the medial side is more rigid and there by stops the over internal rotation of the foot.


The Under Pronator
Otherwise known as a Supinator:

  • has increased arch
  • greater foot rigidity
  • increased shock transmission into the body and may lead to shock related injury.

For the Supinator, a cushioned shoe is recommended.

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