Exercises to Prevent Walking on the Side of Your Feet

Walking on the sides of the feet is called supination.

Walking on the sides of the feet is called supination.

If your walking shoes lean toward the outside when placed on a flat surface, chances are you have foot oversupination. This condition, walking on the sides of your feet, can result from various congenital abnormalities, according to Andrew Peters, osteopath. Abnormalities contributing to this problem include high arches, bow legs and leg-length discrepancies. If you oversupinate your feet, a medical doctor can recommend the proper treatment and type of shoes to help correct the condition. Exercises can also help prevent oversupination.

Standing Calf Stretches

Stretch the large muscle on the back of your lower leg -- the gastrocnemius -- to lengthen your Achilles tendon and relieve oversupination. Stand approximately 3 feet from a wall. Step one foot back one step and the other foot forward one step as you place your hands on the wall and lean forward. Keep your back heel tight against the floor as you press your hips toward the wall. In the same position, stretch your soleus muscle -- which lies just below your gastrocnemius muscle -- by bending your back knee as if to sit down. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds without bouncing. Repeat on the opposite leg, stretching each leg three times. Repeat these exercises two to three times each day.

Seated Calf Stretches

Hold each stretch for two seconds and do 10 repetitions of each stretch on each leg. Sitting with both legs stretched in front of you, loop a rope, belt or strap around the ball of your right foot and pull it toward you, working the gastrocnemius muscle. Target your soleus muscle by bending the knee of one leg. Grasp the bottom of your foot and keep your heel on the floor as you pull your toes back toward your body. After completing repetitions for the soleus muscle stretch, bring your heel as close to your buttocks as possible, but still touching the floor, and pull back on your toes as far as you can.

Plantar Fascia Stretch

Your plantar fascia -- a thick band of muscle that runs from your heel to the ball of our foot -- can suffer stress from high arches. Oversupinators can benefit from specific foot stretches to prevent walking on the sides of your feet. While in a seated position, cross your right ankle over your left leg. With your right hand, grasp the toes of your right foot and pull them toward your shin. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and do 20 repetitions on each foot. You can use a towel, belt or other strap to pull your toes toward your shin if needed. For variation, press the ball of your foot against a wall.

Iliotibial Band Exercises

Walking on the sides of your feet affects your iliotibial band -- tissue that runs along the outside of your thigh, hip and knee. To prevent tightening of this band and promote full movement of your foot for proper foot placement, MayoClinic.com recommends a standing cross-legged stretch. Cross your left foot over your right foot at the ankle. Hold onto a wall or sturdy piece of equipment with your right hand for balance. Raise your left arm over your head. Lean your torso toward your right side as you reach toward the right with your raised arm. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds on each side. For variation, keep your arms by your sides. As you lean, place the hand of the side you lean toward at your waist.

 

About the Author

For Judy Kilpatrick, gardening is the best mental health therapy of all. Combining her interests in both of these fields, Kilpatrick is a professional flower grower and a practicing, licensed mental health therapist. A graduate of East Carolina University, Kilpatrick writes for national and regional publications.

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