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Difference Between Pronation and Supination

Vijith Menon Apr 7, 2019
The walk determines the personality of a person. Due to overstretching or stressing the muscles of the feet, it can lead to an uneven gait. Let's see the difference between pronation and supination.
Baseball pitchers practice their form to ensure proper pronation of the forearm, since it protects the rotator cuff and elbow from injury.


Walking abnormalities can create an uneven gait. They can be genetically inherited or caused due to injuries or fractures. All these can be seen during a person's walk. The gait of a person is recognizable due to its stance and swing.
The stance defines the foot's position when it makes contact with the ground, while the swing defines the position of the foot when it doesn't have any contact with the ground. If the stance or swing seem abnormal, the person pronates or supinates on his foot.
While walking, the foot rolls inwards and makes contact with the ground, and supports the body weight; then you pronate the normal amount. Any more than the normal amount results in a limp, which is an uneven walk.
Pronation and supination naturally occur in the hands or the feet. Pronation is important for movement and shock absorption. As the foot hits the ground, it begins to roll inwards, everting slightly, thus called eversion.
Supination is the exact opposite of pronation, in which the foot turns slightly outwards, so that it can push the foot from the ground, thus called inversion. Pronation and supination of the foot involves the subtalar joint.
It can also be seen in the arms while turning the key in a lock or using the hands to signal someone to sit down. For a better understanding, we tell you the subtle variances through a pronation vs. supination comparison.

What is Pronation?

When the foot makes contact with the ground, it rotates (or pronates) inwards. The normal amount a foot should pronate is 15 degrees, and any more than that leads to overpronation. The foot and ankle have stabilizing problems, and when it makes contact with the ground, the shock isn't absorbed properly.
When the foot pushes off the ground, all the weight transfers to the big and second toe, instead of the sole. This leads to back and spine problems, since the posture becomes uneven and leads to further injuries to the foot.

What is Supination?

Supination is the opposite of pronation. When the foot pushes off the ground and transfers the weight to the outer foot, it supinates or rotates outwards. If the foot rolls outward more than 15 degrees, then it oversupinates. The impact is seen on the outside area of the foot, and the push-off is handled by the smaller toes instead of the sole.


◆ Overpronation can cause bunions, runner's knee, calluses, plantar fasciitis, tarsal tunnel syndrome, and Achilles tendinitis.

◆ Oversupination can cause shin splints, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, and ilotibial band syndrome.

How to Recognize?

◆ Overpronation can be recognized if the foot flattens when you are standing.

◆ Oversupination can be recognized if there's a high arch in your foot when you are standing.


◆ Overpronation can be treated by fitting an orthotic sole inside the shoe, so that it prevents the foot from rolling or flattening.

◆ Oversupination can be treated by using a flexible running shoe to make due for the shock absorption.

Pronation and Supination in the Arms

◆ The pronator teres muscle is used to rotate the hands, used in sports such as golf and baseball.
◆ It is a short muscle that connects the ulna and humerus to the radius. The pronator quadratus muscle assists the pronator teres muscle in rotating the forearm. The supinator muscle is a short muscle that runs from the ulna and the humerus to the radius, which assists in rotating the biceps brachii sideways.
◆ Pronation in the forearm involves rotating the whole arm inwards, so that the palm faces towards the ground. Supination involves rotating the arm outwards, so that the palm faces upwards.
Pronation and supination are exaggerated to sell shoes to the general public. The reasons that some people oversupinate and overpronate are due to the imbalance of the muscles, or by wearing over-supported shoes. All this can be accurately diagnosed and corrected by a physiotherapist.