Pronation and Supination

Throughout the Gait Cycle, as the foot alternates between a mobile adapter and a rigid lever, it does so using the motions of pronation and supination respectively.

These motions are created within the Sub-Talar Joint; the joint formed between the upper surface of the Calcaneus (heel bone) and the underside of the Talus (keystone of the Medial Longditudinal Arch).

The motions are created by the combination of movement in three planes, as shown in the diagrams below. They are opposing motions and cannot occur together.

pronation and supination: pronation is created by eversion, abduction and dorsiflexion

pronation and supination: supination is created by inversion, adduction and plantarflexion

 

Sub-Talar Joint Action
Foot Function
Foot Structure
Occurs In Gait Cycle
Pronation
Mobile Adapter
Lowered arches
looser joints
Foot Flat and Mid-Stance
Supination
Rigid Lever
Heightened arches
tighter joints
Heel Strike and Push-Off

You can feel these movements by doing the following:

  • Stand without shoes with feet approximately hip width apart;
  • Keeping the length of your foot in contact with the ground roll your feet inward, so that the ankles get closer together and the medial arch lowers – This action is the motion of Pronation;
  • Still keeping the base of your foot in contact with the ground, roll yout feet back to where you started, and then roll outward, in the opposite direction. You will feel as through you are standing on the outside of your feet. This action is the motion of Supination.