A normal part of the walking and running gait, foot supination occurs as you place your weight is placed on the outside of the foot, roll the foot forward and raise the arch. When the roll is exaggerated, it's called oversupination. This places undue stress on the feet and legs. The condition can be caused by poor walking habits or genetics, as in the case of high arches. Oversupination can lead to shin splints, ankle sprains and stress fractures because the shock absorption of the foot is reduced. Good supportive shoes, and exercises to strengthen and stretch the leg muscles, can help alleviate the discomfort.
Time to Stretch
Runners with oversupination gaits should spend extra time stretching to lengthen the muscles and tendons that run to the foot. Calf, hamstring and quad stretches can relieve the tightness that comes from oversupinating and allow you to develop a move even foot pattern.
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To stretch the plantar faciitis, sit on the floor with your legs outstretched and grab your toes. Pull your foot upward and hold for 15 seconds. Release and repeat on the other foot.
Stretch the quads, the muscles on the front of your thighs, to make them stronger and more able to take on the motion of walking and running. Stand with your hand balanced on a wall or bench and grab one foot behind your buttocks. Pull up on the leg and feel the stretching on the front of your thigh. Hold for 20 seconds, release and repeat on the other leg. Give your calves a good stretch by leaning against a wall or sturdy object and placing one leg back. Bend the other knee and lean into the bent knee. Hold for 20 seconds and switch legs.
Strengthening the Inner Thigh
After walking or running with oversupination for a period, you probably notice pain in your inner thigh. Too much pressure is being placed on the muscles that may not be strong enough to handle your high arches and foot supination pattern.
While you may not be able to completely correct the oversupination, you can perform exercises to strengthen the inner thigh, which can correct your gait somewhat and help you avoid muscle pain. Strengthen the inner thigh with leg raises by lying on the floor on your side and raising your leg up and down 20 times. Turn over and repeat on the other side. Increase the intensity of the exercise with ankle weights.
Follow with stretching. Sit on the floor and bend your knees so that the soles of your feet are touching. Push down on your knees and feel the stretch on your inner thigh. Avoid bouncing; instead hold a stretch for a count of 10, release and repeat five times.
Try the Heel Stepdown
Strengthening the muscles in front of the shin can help to take some of the pressure off your foot and allow you to perform a steadier gait. Strengthen the shin with heel stepdowns. Stand and take a step forward as if you are walking. When you place your foot forward, stop the motion when your heel hits the floor. Instead of rolling forward onto the ball of your foot, suspend the front of your foot about 1 or 2 inches from the floor and hold the position for a count of 10. Return the foot to the starting position and repeat 15 times. Repeat the exercise on the other foot.