Ankle Supination

A patient came in today with lower back pain. When she got onto the table, I saw this familiar pattern: Take a look at her ankles. Before I started work, both of them looked like the “before” (left) side. This tendency for the foot to turn in is called “ankle supination.” It can be caused by many things, but in her case she had some fascial adhesions on the medial (inside) ankle.

She’s lying face down on a table with a pillow under her ankles. Notice the curvature in the left (before) ankle.

The way our feet strike the ground affects the entire chain … the ankle, the knee, the hips, the back. In extreme cases, a dysfunctional gait can even affect your neck! I knew I needed to address her ankle supination for long-term back improvement. Having canted ankles can also contribute to more foot movement inside the shoe and create blisters / calluses.

After acupuncture to treat her back pain, we did some medical massage. I reset the the function of her back muscles and finished with some myofascial release on the medial ankles. After I worked on the left, the difference was so striking I wanted to share it. Of course after I snapped the evidence pic, I went on to correct the right ankle, too.

When she stood up, she felt good, but a little unsteady. This is normal – she was used to the adhesions doing the work of stabilizing for her. I instructed her to go for a little walk. Now that the musculoskeletal system is corrected, light movement will provide feedback between the brain and muscles. They will reintegrate, and start doing the supporting they’ve been neglecting. Typically, at the end of this walk my patients tell me they feel terrific!

Sit or lie down and take a look at how your feet are aligned at rest. Do they curve in (ankle supination)? Out (ankle pronation)? Or maybe just one is crooked? If the answer to any of those is yes, come see me, and let me help you straighten out your gait! :)