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Friday, October 19, 2012

Shoe Wedging to Stop Supination

Supination following heel strike is one of the most deadly biomechanical problems. The shoe industry is starting to pay attention with a range of mor stable neutral shoes which will work with orthotic devices to stabilize that problem. However, almost weekly I need to do in-office shoe wedging to eliminate this problem even in the face of good orthotics and shoes. When we strike the ground walking or running, our legs must internally rotate from the feet, ankles, knees, hips and pelvis to absorb the shock. This internal rotation of the entire lower extremity allows the foot to pronate, and the foot to adapt to the ground. If our foot supinates at this time, forcing external rotation of the foot and ankle, problems arise in many ways. The foot can no longer adapt to the ground well and sprains can occur. The shock wave of heel strike will intensify potentially causing bone and joint problems. The peroneals and iliotibial band must work overtime at stabilizing the lateral/outside of the foot/ankle/knee/hip and strains occur. 

So, when I watch someone walk and run, I look for over-supination at heel strike. I see if simply the shoe needs changing from stability to neutral. I teach the patient how to perform lateral power lacing. I evaluate any shoe inserts/orthotics to see if I can adjust for anti-supination. And, I may also wedge their midsole as shown in the photos below to see if this helps eliminate supination at heel strike, and ease their symptoms. 

Lateral (baby toe side) of the midsole is opened with a scalpel. This process can be easily done by some shoe repair stores.

In this case, a 1/4 inch wedge of grinding rubber from JMS Plastics is placed into the opening. Both sides of the midsole and both sides of the wedge are initially glued with Barge Cement and let to dry for 10 minutes.

All excess wedge material is cut and ground off and SuperGlue is used to seal any gaps that did not seal completely.

The final product is shown. This patient Vince has chronic medial knee joint compartment disease, and this wedging has allowed him to avoid knee replacement successfully for the last 15 years by eliminating the excessive supination which was causing the medial knee compartment to compress abnormally with every step.


So, when evaluating individuals with various injuries, watching them walk and/or run, can give you great clues to treatment. Gait evaluation should be done in most non-acute injuries to see if gait changes may help. This is one example of this process in action. 

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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.

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