How to fix Duck feet posture

duck feet posture

What is Duck feet posture?

Duck feet posture is a postural deviation where the feet are pointing outwards. (… like a duck)


The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment.

For more information: Medical disclaimer.


How can you tell if you have Duck feet posture?

out turned feet

Instructions:

  • Stand up.
  • Look down at your feet.
  • If your feet are pointing outwards, then you have Duck feet posture!

This is the easy part! …The difficult part is determining where it is originating from.

Which area is causing the out turning of the feet?

Note: It is important to understand the EXACT cause of your Duck feet posture. This will determine the specific exercises that you will need to focus on in order to address it.


a) Posterior pelvic tilt

This is where the pelvis rotates in a backwards direction.

(Think about the action of tucking your tail bone underneath you.)

A posterior tilt of the pelvis will ORIENTATE the hip joint outwards which may lead to out turned hipsknees and feet.


Tight/Overactive muscles:

  • Hamstrings
  • Abdominals
  • Gluteal group

Weak/Inhibited muscles:

  • Lumbar erectors
  • Hip flexors

Test for Posterior pelvic tilt:

Instructions:

  • Whilst standing, locate the following land marks on your pelvis:
    • Anterior Superior Iliac Spine (ASIS)
      • “pointy bone at the front of your pelvis”
    • Posterior Superior Iliac Spine (PSIS)
      • “pointy bone at the back of your pelvis”
  • If you have a Posterior pelvic tilt, the ASIS will be higher in comparison to the PSIS.

b) Hip External rotation

duck feet posture hip external rotation

This is where the hip joint rotates outwards on the pelvis which may lead to out turned hips, knees and feet.

Note: Hip external rotation can occur in conjunction with posterior, neutral or anterior pelvis.


Tight/overactive muscles: (External rotators)

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Posterior portion of glute medius
  • Piriformis
  • Obturator internus/externus
  • Gemellus superior/inferior

Weak/Inhibited muscles: (Internal rotators)

  • Pectineus
  • Anterior glute medius
  • Tensor fascia lata
  • Adductor magnus

Test for Hip external rotation:

Instructions:

  • Whilst standing, look down at your knees.
  • If you have Hip external rotation, the knees will be pointing outwards.

c) Tibial external rotation

tibial external rotation duck feet posture

This is where the tibia rotates outwards on the femur leading to out turned shin bones and feet.


Tight/overactive muscles:

  • Lateral hamstring
    • Biceps femoris
  • Lateral calf

Weak/inhibited muscles:

  • Popliteus
  • Medial hamstring
    • Semimembranosus
    • Semitendinosus

Test for Tibial external rotation:

Instructions:

  • Whilst standing, locate the following land marks:
    • Middle of knee cap
    • Line of tibia
  • If you have Tibial external rotation, the line of tibia will be outside of the alignment of the patella.

Note: It is common for this to occur in conjunction with Knee valgus (Knock knee).

d) Limited ankle dorsiflexion

ankle duck feet posture

Limited ankle dorsiflexion can force the foot to externally rotate to compensate for the lack of mobility. (… especially during walking)

This leads to out turning of the feet.


Tight/overactive muscles:

  • Gastrocnemius
  • Soleus
  • Plantaris
  • Achilles tendon

Test for limited ankle dorsiflexion:

Instructions:

  • Face a wall.
  • Assume the lunge position so that your knee on your front leg is touching the wall.
  • Whilst keeping your knee in contact with the wall, keep sliding your foot back as far as you can go.
  • Aim to get the front of your foot furthest away from the wall before the:
    • Heel lifts off the ground or
    • Foot arch collapses.
  • Measure the distance between the tip of your big toe and the wall.

Results: If your toe is <8cm from the wall, then you have limited ankle dorsiflexion.

e) Foot pronation

flat feet duck feet posture

A collapsing medial arch of the foot may result in out turned feet.


Tight/overactive muscles:

  • Peroneus longus
  • Peroneus brevis
  • Peroneus tertius

Weak/inhibited muscles:

  • Tibialis posterior
  • Tibialis anterior
  • Plantarfascia
  • Flexor hallucis longus
  • Flexor digitorum

Test for Foot pronation:

Instructions:

  • Whilst standing, have a look at your feet.
  • There should be an obvious arch on the inside of your feet.

As a rough guideline: You should be able to fit the tips of your fingers underneath the arch of your foot.

If there is no gap between the bottom of your foot and the floor, then you probably have foot pronation.

f) Structural issues

Changes to the structure of bones/joints that encourage the out turning of the feet can result in Duck feet posture.

Unfortunately – these are not amendable by means of exercise alone.

The main ones related to Duck feet posture…

Femoral retroversion:

This involves the angle between the femoral head and femur body being wider than normal.

As a result, the foot turns outwards to better position the femoral head in the hip socket.

Test for Femoral retroversion:

Instructions

  • Lie on your stomach.
  • Bend your knee to 90 degrees.
  • Perform External rotation:
    • Drop your foot towards the mid line of the body.
  • Perform Internal rotation:
    • Drop your foot away from the mid line of the body. of the hip.

Results: If you have excessive external rotation AND minimal internal rotation (around 0 degrees), then you may have Femoral retroversion.

Tibial torsion (external):

The knee joint is structured in a way where the tibia is naturally sits in an externally rotated position as compared to the line of the femur.

Test for Tibial torsion:

Instructions:

  • Lie on your stomach.
  • Bend your knees to 90 degrees.
  • Compare the line of the femur and foot.

Result: If the foot is angled outwards in relation to the line of femur, then you may have tibial external torsion.

g) Combination of all of the above

In most cases – it is the net result of multiple postural deviations (including others that are not mentioned above) that can lead to duck feet posture.

Why is Duck feet posture a problem?

… How can you move properly if your feet aren’t even in the right position?

As the feet are your base of support, out turned feet may lead to undesirable compensations throughout the whole posture.

As result, it may predispose you to conditions such as:

  • Lower back: Disc bulges, Sciatica
  • Hip: Piriformis syndrome, Groin strains
  • Knee joint: Meniscal injury, Premature osteoarthritis
  • Foot: Plantarfasciitis, Big toe bunion, Achilles tendinopathies

Exercises to fix Duck feet posture


Note: These exercise are designed to be performed pain-free. If you are unsure of anything, please feel free to contact me on the Facebook page.


1. Posterior pelvic tilt

READ THIS FIRST:

I have a complete blog post on addressing this issue.

Check out the post: How to fix a Posterior pelvic tilt.

(For the purpose of this post – I have included the 3 main exercises to get you started.)

a) Hamstring releases

Instructions:

  • Place your hamstrings on top of a massage ball/foam roller.
  • Apply an appropriate amount of body weight.
  • Make sure to cover the whole area.
  • Duration: 2 minutes each side.

b) Upper hamstring stretch

Instructions:

  • Whilst standing, place your leg in front of you.
    • For upper hamstring: Keep knee slightly bent.
  • Hinge forwards at the hip joint.
    • Keep your back completely straight.
    • Keep your foot pointed.
  • Ensure that you can feel the stretch in the back of your upper leg.
  • Hold stretch for 1-2 minutes.
  • Repeat on both sides.

c) Standing pelvic tilts

Instructions:

  • Stand with your hips stacked directly over your ankles.
  • Perform an anterior pelvic tilt
    • “Imagine your pelvis is a bucket and is tipping forward.”
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Relax into a neutral pelvic position.
  • Repeat 30 times.

2. Hip External rotation

a) Glute releases

duck feet posture releases

Instructions:

  • Place your gluteal region on a massage ball.
  • Apply an appropriate amount of body weight.
  • Perform circular motions.
  • Make sure to cover the whole area.
  • Duration: 2 minutes each side.

b) Glute stretch

stretches for duck feet posture

Instructions:

  • Sit down on the edge of a chair.
  • Place your ankle on the top of the knee of the other leg.
  • Sit as tall as possible as to create an arch in your lower back.
  • Whilst maintaining this arch, pull your knee in the direction of the opposite shoulder.
  • Hold for 60 seconds.

c) Strengthen Hip internal rotators

Instructions:

  • Stand up with your legs slightly bent.
  • Make sure your feet are pointing forwards.
  • Place a block between your knees.
    • The block should be wide enough to keep knees pointing forwards.
  • Squeeze your knees together as hard as you can.
  • Hold for 20 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times.

3. Tibial external rotation

a) Lateral hamstring releases

Instructions:

  • Whilst sitting on the floor, place a massage ball underneath the outside part of the back of your knee. (see above)
  • Proceed to apply pressure onto the ball.
  • Straighten and bend your knee.
  • Continue for 1 minute.

b) Popliteus strengthening

exercises for duck feet posture

Instructions:

  • Sit down with your hip/knees bent at 90 degrees.
  • Keep your knee pointing forwards.
    • You can hold it still with your hands.
  • Turn your shin bone inwards
    • (Internal rotation of the tibia bone)
  • Make sure your foot does not lift off the ground.
  • Repeat 30 times.
  • Repeat on other side.

c) Knee push outs

Instructions:

  • Stand up with your feet facing forwards.
  • Whilst keeping your knees slightly bent, push your knees outwards.
  • Do NOT lift any part of your foot off the floor.
  • Aim to feel your foot arch and glute muscles activate.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times.
  • You can place a resistance band between your knees to make the exercise harder.

4. Limited ankle dorsiflexion

READ THIS FIRST:

I have a complete blog post on addressing this issue.

Check out the post here: How to increase your Ankle dorsiflexion.

(For the purpose of this post – I have included the 3 main exercises to get you started.)

a) Calf release

how to fix duck feet posture

Instructions:

  • Place your calf muscle on top of a foam roller/ball. (see above)
  • Put your other leg on top and apply pressure down towards the foam roller. (if required)
  • Roll your leg from side to side.
  • Make sure you cover the whole muscle
  • Do this for 1-2 minutes each side.

b) Calf stretch

Instructions:

  • Place the ball of your foot as high as possible against a wall (see above)
  • Keep your heel planted on the floor.
  • Lock your knee straight.
  • Learn forward into your ankle.
  • Aim to feel a deep stretch sensation at the back of the calf.
  • Hold for 1-2 minutes.

c) Joint mobilisation

Instructions:

  • Place your foot onto a stool.
  • Using your body weight, proceed to plunge forward as to place pressure on the front ankle.
  • Keep the heels of your front leg in contact with the stool throughout movement.
  • Repeat 30 times.
  • Note: You can use a resistance band (as set up as above) to encourage more joint movement

5. Foot pronation

READ THIS FIRST:

I have a complete blog post on addressing this issue.

Check out the post here: How to fix flat feet.

(For the purpose of this post – I have included the 3 main exercises to get you started.)

a) Peroneal release

Instructions:

  • Place the outside of your lower leg on a massage ball.
  • Apply pressure over the ball.
  • Make sure to cover the whole outer side of the lower leg.
  • Draw circles with your ankle to increase the release.
  • Duration: 1-3 minute

b) Arch strengthening

Instructions:

  • Stand with your feet facing forwards and shoulder width apart.
  • Whilst keeping your toes relaxed, proceed to scrunch the under-surface of your foot.
    • Imagine that you are dragging your big toe backwards.
  • Aim to feel a strong contraction of the muscles underneath your foot.
  • Hold this for 5-10 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.
  • (… if it feels like you are going to get a cramp under your foot, you are doing it correctly!)

c) Leaning with arches

Instructions:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Keep your arches lifted throughout the exercise.
    •  (see the above exercise: Arch strengthening)
  • Keeping your legs straight, lean your whole body forwards from the ankles.
    • You will need to dig your toes into the ground to prevent you from falling forward.
    • You can perform this exercise in front of a wall if you feel you are going to fall forward.
  • Use your feet/toe muscles to prevent yourself from falling and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times.

6. Bringing it all together

… What’s the point of doing these exercises if they don’t translate to what’s important to you?

In addition – I would also recommend that you attempt to keep your feet straight (without forcing it) whilst standing, walking, exercising etc.

(This is easier said than done… but do what you can do!)

With time, consistency and effort, it will be come more natural for you to place your feet in the neutral position.


“… MARK! What happens if only ONE foot is pointing outwards?”

There are 2 situations where this can occur.

1.  You have a 1 sided issue: If this is you, just complete the above exercises on the appropriate side only.

2.  Your pelvis is rotated: A twisted pelvis can result in one out turned foot.

In this case, check out this post: Exercises to fix a Rotated pelvis.


Conclusion:

Duck feet posture is a postural presentation where the feet are turned outwards.

The main cause can originate from the pelvis, hips, knee, ankle or foot joints. (… or even a combination of)

It is important to understand what is causing your duck feet posture as this will determine the exact exercises you should do to correct it.

If you only have 1 foot that is out turned, it is recommended that you perform the exercises on one side or address your pelvic rotation.


What to do next…

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me on the Facebook page. Let’s keep in touch!

3. Start doing the exercises!


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119 thoughts on “How to fix Duck feet posture”

  1. Hello Mark,

    Loved your article as I have duck feet as a result of femoral retroversion. I am also a competitive athlete on team Canada for wresting. Lately however, I have been plagued with disgusting knee pain to the point where I can only train a couple times a week as opposed to twice a day. I lost my spot for the Olympic trials as a result. I’ve done everything from rest, taking time off, etc.

    Since my duck feet are a structural consequence, does that mean I’m just doomed and better get ready for a life full of pain?

    I can barely run anymore as shin splints are so bad they turn in to stress fractures. Swimming is all I can do pain free.

    What do you suggest?

    Reply
    • Hey Aaron,

      Although the duck feet may predispose you to certain knee issues, it certainly 100% does not mean you are doomed!

      You will need to strengthen your knee in as many different positions as possible (as required in wrestling) and gradually progress the amount of load you are placing through your knee.

      The most difficult part of your rehabilitation will likely be doing too much too soon. Take it slow , but always make sure you are progressing.

      Mark

  2. Hi Mark,

    I have trouble with my hips being externally rotated, and was wondering if that seated glute stretch could be done in a supine position?

    Thanks

    Reply
  3. Yes I think I might have a rotated pelvis, but which side do you think it would be rotated to? I tried the tests but I’m not certain.
    Only my right leg needs to be in a frog position to fully relax

    Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Hello so ive been trying to fix my posture for awhile and o have duck feet and knee valgus which i been trying to fix using your guides. But when i try to put my feet more in the straight position it looks like knocked knees really badly. I’m just curious on which one i should focus on whether its knocked knees or knee valgus or both. I been really stressed over this and i just don’t want to end up making it worse

    Reply
    • Hey Mason,

      You don’t want to force your foot forwards if your knee collapses inwards.

      This may suggest that either 1) The shape of your bones is causing Structural Knock Knee or 2) Perhaps you may have tibial external rotation.

      Mark

  5. Hey Mark,

    I noticed that I need my right leg to be in a frog leg position in order to fully relax when I sleep, could you help me finding why?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Hey Mark,

    I have been dealing with a gait issue for a couple years now. I am an avid runner and workout enthusiast. I run 6-8 miles twice per week and then do full body circuits the other two days prefaced by 10-15 mins jump rope. My right side is the effected area; foot splays to exterior, lack of internal hip rotation, shoulder lower on this side as well, leg/femur rolls outward while laying on back idle, lack foot stability on this side. I have read a litany of different things and have a hard time figuring out where the problem originates. The problem seems to be most noticeable while running and jump roping. Running -femur tends to rotated to exterior regardless of how mindful I am of hip control. Jumping rope – oddly my right shoulder rises and left hand lowers to compensate (usually my right shoulder is lower). I am really at a loss. Any insight would be MUCH appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Nash

    Reply
  7. Can I ask what you think as to whether a certain amount of ‘duck feet’ is normal or even optimal? Looking at the graph in the link below it seems to be the normal state of affairs, but is that because most people have bad posture and we should be aiming for 0 degrees foot progression, or should we actually be accepting of a few degrees of progression angle?

    Link to graph: https://ebrary.net/imag/med/alex_pedreh/image141.jpg

    Link to full article (mostly applies to children): https://ebrary.net/7487/health/developmental_conditions

    Reply
    • Hey John,

      It is likely it is getting more COMMON to walk with duck feet posture.

      Is it more optimal? That really depends on what the shape of the tibia, femur, the knee joint, hip joint, pelvis is doing.

      If all of the above bones and joints are ‘neutral’ (keep in mind this a range), then I would expect the feet should remain fairly straight.

      If it is not significant and is not leading to any issues (or potential issues), I wouldn’t be too worried about it!

      Mark

    • i believe i have Tibial External Rotation as when i naturally stand my feet go outward with my shin and my knees straight. i think i have knock knee too as when i bend my knee go inward.
      my ankle seem to have limited mobility and i think this is due to the tibial external rotation. when i finish workout i feel knee pain

    • i tried to do Popliteus strengthening but my right ankle has limited inward mobility i can barely turn it inward how can i work on this

    • Hey Travis,

      Work on releases lateral hamstrings and gradually work on tibial internal rotation.

      It might be limited now, but with continued effort, it should start to increase.

      Mark

  8. Hello Mark, i have a few questions:

    1) Could i still have ankle mobility problems related to duck feet even if i pass this mobility test of yours ?

    2) If i have duck feet due to hip external rotation problems, is it expected for my kness to ”internally collapse” if i forcefully internal rotate my feets to a neutral position ? I’ve read online some people complaining about their knees going inwards if they try to forcefully correct their feets but it doesn’t happen to me, my knees seems to face forward when i do that

    3) What do you think about avoiding running shoes in the process of fixing duck feet?

    Thanks for your time

    Reply
    • Hi Eduardo,

      1) Yes – especially if the ankle is over pronating to let the knee drive forwards.

      2) Yes – if you over shoot the internal rotation, you can end up with a knock knee presentation.

      3) Do you mean you want to do barefoot running?

      If so – this is a great way to strengthen your feet, BUT, you need to make sure your foot can handle that amount of load.

      Mark

  9. Hi Mark,
    Do companies make wearable braces for people with duck feet so the foot will remain straight while walking?
    Thank you!

    Reply
  10. Hi Mark!

    I am a rather complicated case, and I’d love your initial thoughts on the proper exercises for me because I am similar to some of the cases you outline here. I have severe external tibial torsion and supinated feet, below-the-knee edema, and muscle atrophy except for overdeveloped inner calf muscles (medial head gastrocnemius). When mindful of my gait, I can correct my duck walk, but it often causes a slight lateral heel whip of my right leg or more excessive supination in both feet. The right leg has lost more muscle — 1/2 an inch smaller at the broadest circumference to be precise. Seventeen years ago, I had a rare version of lateral foreleg Compartment Syndrome, where both peroneal muscles ruptured both fasciae a few inches above the outer ankle during a college lacrosse sprint workout. A few months after that, I had lateral foreleg Compartment Release surgery to release the rest of those same fasciae. In the past seven years, I have also developed two herniated discs — S1 – L5 and L5 4. Multilevel changes are most pronounced at L5-S1, where a central protrusion contributes to mild neural foraminal stenosis and abuts the descending right S1 nerve root. I am currently working with a team of competent doctors in Boston to find a non-surgical remedy. But they are confused by my complex mix of ailments, muscle imbalances, and gait irregularities. I have been doing Calf Releases with a lacrosse ball and Popliteus Strengthening with Balance Body Functional Footprints. Do you think those are right for me? Are there any other exercises you think I should suggest that my doctors consider adding to my regimen? How long do these muscle imbalances have to last before spinal nerve root damage is seen as the main culprit?

    Thank you so much.

    Keep up the great work!

    Matt
    Cambridge, MA

    Reply
    • Hey Matt,

      As you have obvious muscle wasting on that right side and a possible L5 and/or S1 nerve issue, I would make sure the doctors have done a complete neurological examination (reflexes, dermatome sensation, myotome testing, nerve conduction test, nerve tension tests). I would also recommend screening the lumbar spine with provocative tests to see if it influences the right leg)

      If all of these are negative, then it is more likely due to the old injury/surgery of the compartment syndrome. You may have developed an asymetrical gait pattern since 17 years ago when this all happened. These factors could lead to muscle atrophy on that right side.

      Did the tibial external rotation and supination only come about AFTER the injury/surgery? (Could be structural /genetic presentation) Large medial gastroc is quite common in people with out turned toes.

      If so – I would focus on the exercises as mentioned in the blog post. Popliteus training would be very important here. As would releases to the lateral hamstrings.

      Mark

  11. Many thanks for putting all this great & detailed info together!!
    You make lives better – keep it up!
    Cheers,
    Georgette @pedipower

    Reply
  12. hi there my feet go outwards when i stand straight and if i try put my feet straight, my knee go inward. it effect both my legs but more on the right side. i feel like i have less rotation in my right ankle. what do you think i should do

    Reply
    • Hey Daniel,

      Might be Tibial torsion: This is where the lower leg bone is rotated outwards relative to the upper leg bone.

      If this is the case – it is best to follow the protocol on the blog post which is mentioned under “Tibial external rotation”

      Mark

  13. I’m very worried about my left foot! Just my toes are turning outward, I went to a foot doctor who said he didn’t know about why my toes are turning out, and has never seen a issue like this? He suggested orthotics, I do wear over counter orthotics in most of my shoes for years, being a hairstylist and always worn uncomfortable athletic working type shoes never designer shoes 👠 and I wear custom orthotics for my ski boot. Can a custom orthotic fix the out turning of toes? The out turned toes start from cuboid and cuneiform bones out toward the toes. So all my toes are turning left outward which affects my comfort in ski boots, Birkenstock, or form fitting trainers, with small toe box area. My toes become numb, burning, and tingling only during the wearing of these type shoes, and I don’t want to give up skiing. I do yoga and work on my Periformas muscle most days. Any suggestions on correcting this issue is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hello Debbie,

      It sounds like there might be some unwanted rotation happening in the joints to cause your toes to deviate to the side.

      I suspect it could be something to do with how your foot pushes off the floor when you walk.

      Do you have knock knees?

      Mark

  14. I had a broken ankle and had two surgeries on it I was duck feet and now my left foot and ankle is turned straight will I be able to correct this without surgery and will I be able to walk again

    Reply
  15. there i saw your article abour correcting duck feet. i have had duck feet for awhile but did not think nothing of it until now. i do martial art and it seem to be affecting me but i do not know what exactly it wrong. when i stand straight my feet outwardand my knee is straight. if i try put my feet straight my knee go out i also cant turn my feet inward to much can

    Reply
  16. Hey Mark, does hip external rotation causing duck feet makes more sense than other causes if there’s also anterior pelvic tilt along with? Also, is the only stretch you showed for the hips sufficient ? I see other people recommending the other hip stretch where you work the opposite hip flexor

    Reply
    • Hi Eduardo,

      You can have Duck feet with an anterior pelvic tilt.

      In this scenario, the hips are likely in a whole lot of external rotation.

      Stretching the hip external rotators and strengthening the internal rotators PLUS address the anterior pelvic tilt will be the way to go.

      The stretch shown in the blog post should be enough… but feel free to do others if it hits the appropriate area better.

      Mark

  17. Hello, Hello, Mr. Wong! I found your site when searching about toe-out feet. It seems to me that my case might be C, tibial external rotation. My knees seem to point forward.
    I have a question. If I’m not mistaken, Katy Bowman explained that the knee pits (back of knees) should point directly backwards, and that if they point outwards (as mine do, even though my knees appear to point forward), then you need to practice externally rotating your hips to pull them together (something like that). If I align my knee pits to point directly backward, my knees and feet point outward a lot. On the contrary, If I’m not mistaken, I saw a video on the chi running website that said to correct duck feet you need to internally rotate your entire leg. (This would make my knee pits even more outward pointing.) This doesn’t make sense to me.
    I have quite a bit of knee pain. I’m 34. I grew up very lazy, so I didn’t develop strength. In college I began to exercise but without proper attention to form. I realized my knees were a big weakness. Currently, I am focusing on Jason Fitzgerald’s injury prevention for runners program. I’m 8 weeks in, and I love it. My knees have never felt better with all of this running and exercise. Yet, I still feel their weakness. For instance, they hurt too much when I try to step up onto a step. Sometime, especially when my knees are tired, I can’t bear my weight, unless I stick my rear out farther behind me. It’s hard to describe. At a certain angle, my knees cannot bear my weight. Sometimes it’s not so bad, but today it was, after this past week of a higher intensity of exercise. This led me to my search. Before I began my exercise program, I asked my doctor to refer me to an orthopedic doctor to check my knees, but she said she couldn’t justify it and advised me to “strengthen those legs!” Please advise 🙂 thank you.

    Reply
  18. If only one foot is pointing outward does that mean that side of the pelvis is rotated forward or that the opposite side is rotated forward?
    Thanks

    Reply
  19. Hi mark
    If only one foot is pointing outward does that mean that side of the pelvis is rotated forward or that the opposite side is rotated forward?
    Thanks

    Reply
  20. Hi mark
    Only my right leg points outward .
    Does this mean that the right pelvis is anteriorly forward and oriented to the left ?
    Thanks.

    Reply
  21. Thank you so much for your help.

    I want to ask my right glute is smaller than my left and my right hip is more externally rotated .

    What do you think is?

    Reply
  22. Hi Mark,
    It is possible to have one different problem for each leg. Like, for example having tibial external rotation in one leg and in the other limited ankle dorsiflexion?

    Reply
    • My right foot is duck footed since i was a kid if i complete these techniques daily can the fix themselfs or adjust it.

      Do i have to do this like a regement daily?

    • Hey Sean,

      As long as your duck foot posture is not caused by your structure (bone/joint alignment), then these exercises will help correct your foot position.

      I would perform they as regularly as you can.

      Mark

    • So, I have sever questions. I believe its my hip that causes this, when I tried the hip exercises (the second example) my hip felt tight and a little sore which I feel is the indicator. I’m currently trying to exercise and lose weight and I’m doing P90x to get back into shape. While I’m sitting down and pointing my feet straight (my right foot is the big issue here) it looks like my knee is going towards my center more than it should, is that normal and I’m just not used to it? Also is it okay for me to be doing P90x as long as I’m fighting to keep my posture correct (which is what I’ve been doing?) I’m a bigger guy and every time I do lunges I always feel out of place like I’m leaning to far to the right and my knee is trying too much to go left, is it safe to believe this is do to my hip issue and will correct itself over time? And finally, do I do these exercises for life or will my hip placement eventually become 2nd nature and I should do them until that time? You’re helping save lives my friend thank you so much if you even just read this.

  23. Hi Mark,

    first of all, thank you for taking up your time to write such articles, they are trully wonderful.
    I think I might be facing with the duck feet myself. My knees are alway straight and whole leg rotated from the knee down. I do have some realy big and well developed calves muscles. Could this be the source of my problem and how would you suggest to approach it?

    Thanks and best Wishes.

    Reply
    • Hey Boris,

      Big calf muscles in itself won’t cause your duck feet. (it’s more likely as a result of duck feet posture though!)

      If you have tight calves, I would also check if you lack ankle dorsiflexion as this can predispose you to have your feet turned outwards.

      Mark

    • Hi Mark,
      thanks for your reply. I dont believe I have limited ankle dorsiflexion – it is quite OK actually. It just that my feet are rotated from the knee down. I have been like this for quite some time now, maybe more than 10 years, but started to give it atention in the last 2 weeks unfortunatelly. Do you think it is too late to overcome this disfunction and should I only do popliteous strenghtening exercises and knee push outs or should I also try something else?

      Again, big thanks!

    • Hi Boris,

      If you lower leg bone is rotated outwards, then it sounds like a tibial external rotation issue.

      If it is not structural (bony alignment issue), then it is possible to improve it.

      The exercises mentioned on the blog post will help address the position of your knee.

      Mark

  24. Hi Mark i like your blog so much it is great and maybe it is because of ı have many postural problems… I have anterior pelvic tilt and at the same time duck feet (hip externally rotated and tibia externally rotated) should ı do glute strechs ? I am afraid of it because of my APT.
    Thanks so much.

    Reply
  25. Mark,
    I have most of this. Femoral anteversion, anterior pelvic tilt (which I have improved some in the last months), knee valgus, external tibial torsion, and my Arch is high /suppinated. This has stopped me from fitness my whole life and I’m tired of it. Stretches do very little to correct it.
    So I started barbell training – starting strength. It took me weeks just to perform a bodyweight squat. Then goblet squats for months.
    Now I’ve had some success with a Rippetoe style low bar squat. I got 3/4 inch heavy squat shoes – they help me get lower without rolling out those high arches and I’m a very tall, long femured lady. Rippetoe recommends for all a shoulder width stance (more seems impossible due to my hips), pointing the feet out 15 to 30 degrees – ok, natural for duckfooted me. But that part about shove my knees out? That’s difficult for me and he says it’s the key. I squat with a band on my knees and I’m up to about 100 lbs. Below parallel depth is a challenge.
    Should I squat differently? Am I gonna tear an ACL? Am I gonna hurt myself? I’m ready to see a doctor about this for the first time since I was 6 (he said hey surgery or just walk funny) and surgery is off the table – what kind of doctor do I see to get cleared for some really heavy squats?

    Reply
    • Hey Carolyn,

      Every one is structurally different.

      With these natural differences, it may not be possible for you to have the “100% perfect” squat form… and that’s okay!

      Sure, “push your knees out” is a great cue for squatting, but it might not be comfortable (or even possible) for someone with high arches and femoral anteversion like yourself.

      It sounds like you have made some great gains at the gym already and I would encourage you to keep going with what you’re doing.

      Obviously – you will need to SLOWLY increase the weight without losing your best relative form. This will allow the body to develop the capacity to handle the extra load on your structures..

      With long femurs, low bar squat is the way to go! You will need to likely lean forward a bit more from the hips to maintain your balance however.

      Best of luck to you.

      Mark

  26. Mark, this is a nice and very detailed article. I’m a cyclist and I think my riding over the last few years (without much stretching, sadly) has caused some issues. Is it possible to have over supination and duck feet? My shoes wear badly on the outside of the heels, and I tend to have duck feet stance. My massage therapist says that my IT bands are very tight, and I have soreness in my hip area which I think is is tightness in my TFLs (I’ve never had it diagnosed but it seems like the right location). I assume all of this is connected…..weakness in either the TFL or gluteus medius causes tightness in the IT, which pulls my feet outward. Seem plausible? Outside of the dreaded foam rolling of the IT band, any suggestions on other stretches or strength exercises I should try?

    Reply
    • Hi Greg the Duck,

      You can definitely have duck feet even if you have supinated feet.

      If your feet are structurally bound that way, there is not too much we can do to change the positioning of the foot itself.

      Is your rotation coming from the pelvis, hips, knees or ankles? This will give you the best idea as to where to start your exercises.

      Mark

  27. Hi Mark,

    Love the website – you’ve done a great job on all of your articles and they are very helpful.

    Naturally I seem to have my knees and tibia forward but one foot outward. However, an x-ray showed I had my right hip tilted forwards and my femur rotated inward / tibia outward.

    I can get my legs and feet to face forward but I can’t get the ball of my big toe to touch the floor when I’m doing this.

    I would love to do all of these exercises everyday but it’s just so much – what would you recommend I do?

    Do you have a physio practice in the UK?

    Best,
    Nick

    Reply
    • Hey Nick,

      Thanks for the compliment.

      Have a quick look at this picture. Do you have forefoot varus?

      If so – the structure of your bones in your feet might be preventing you from getting the ball of the big toe down on the floor when you straighten out your leg.

      Mark

    • Hey,

      No problem! It resembles that but if I really really try I can force the ball of my foot downwards.

      I saw an osteopath recently who advised me I have limited ROM in my big toe and this could have led to all of this.

      Bit confused as of where to go now, I cycle and run a lot and I’m worried about issues down the line.

      Best,
      Nik

    • Hey Nick,

      If you can get the ball of the big toe down without compromising the position of the heel, then you probably don’t have forefoot varus. (this is good news!)

      Big toe tightness into extension can force your foot to turn outwards.

      If this is the main issue causing your duck feet posture, then I would start working on improving big toe extension.

      Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      I’ve been working on big toe mobility and have seen some improvements over the last month in terms of being able to flex etc. I am still really struggling with my leg though and if anything I feel like it’s worse. I’ve also worked on spinal rotation and have much more rotation in my upper body.

      I have made an observation that after a difficult run / cycle my foot points out a lot more and my knee points even even more, implying that a particular muscle or set of muscles is just too weak to support my leg in a straight position and fatigues quickly.

      I get pain on the right side of my hip/glute almost on the femur itself and lots of tightness / aching underneath the achilles / up the back of the lower leg.

      I’m getting stuck for ideas and it’s really affecting my ability to improve my running. Do you have any other ideas?

      Sorry to pester but I really do appreciate your advice!

    • Hey Nick,

      If your knee AND foot point outwards, I would check your glute muscles (external rotators of the hip) to see if they are tight/over active.

      If you have issues only on the right side after you run/cycle, check to see if your pelvis is level as this could be placing more load on that right side.

      Rotated pelvis
      Lateral pelvic tilt

      Mark

  28. Hey Mark.

    I am grateful that you have managed to put such a comprehensive post on the issue of Duck Feet together, I think it will prove to be very helpful. However I have at least a couple of questions for you.

    First of, what is the difference between externally rotated tibias as a result of genetics vs muscular imbalance, how do I find out which one I am dealing with? Just so that I know what can be done about it.

    Second, in my case, as I keep my knees straight, the tibias are actually tilted outwards somewhat (wider distance between ankles than knees. As if pressure on the knees makes the tibia cave and go outwards to keep in balance). How do you propose this can be dealt with?

    Thank you so much for the work you’ve put into this.

    Reply
    • Hi Andreas,

      Your genetics will determine if you are structurally “built” with externally rotated tibias.

      If you are able to change the position of the tibia to more relatively internally rotated position, then you do not have a structural issue. This means you can influence the resting joint position.

      When you say the ankle gap is larger than the knee, do you mean you have a degree knee valgus? If so, this post might help : How to fix knee valgus.

      Mark

  29. Hi Mark,
    A few months ago, I started doing a lot of squats in an effort to get into shape, which was when I noticed that I had duck feet. I’d never really noticed them before, but then I saw that whenever I did a deep squat, my feet would turn outwards. Even when I tried to keep them straight, that just made my knees point inwards.
    So I Googled it, found your website (this is a really useful site by the way), and deduced that I have flat feet, tibial external rotation, and weak gluteals. I really want to fix these problems, but at the same time I’m worried about losing my progress with my squats.
    So here’s my question: should I give up my poor-posture squats until I fix my leg problems, or just start doing your recommended stretches / exercises at the same time as squats?
    Thanks a lot for your help.

    Reply
    • Hey Danny,

      You can continue to do your squats, but just be mindful that it could potentially lead to injury further down the line.

      But I would definitely start to address your technique and posture if you want to stop your knees from caving in.

      Also check out this post:

      How to improve ankle Dorsiflexion.

      Mark

    • Hey Kareem,

      If the clicking is coming from the front of your knee, it is likely due to the misaligned position of your patella.

      Think of your patella as a train. The train needs to sit directly on top of the train tracks.

      Any deviation from this line of tracking will increase the chance of the patella rubbing against the bone behind it.

      Mark

    • Hi there,

      The popliteus is a tibia internal rotator and a knee flexor.

      Any exercise that encourage any of these movements will engage the muscle.

      As you push OUT your knees, make sure the feet do not roll out. This will hit the popliteus as well as the glutes.

      Mark

  30. Hey brother,let me first thank you for your articles out of all the BS on internet,you provide some genuine info my man,now i’ll come to the question,when i try out knee pushout ,my pelvis tilts forward,is this tight TFL? Also i have a small degree of knocked knees,when i tilt my pelvis i can create gap between my knees,please tell me whats the main issue here

    Reply
  31. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

    I’ve had duck feet since I was a child.

    When I jog I get bad pain down the outside of my lower legs. It doesn’t happen for my first or second jogs but when I do more it starts – by the 6th or 7th jog it’s excruciating and I have to stop.

    The pain goes away as soon as I stop moving. But the site is tender when pressure is applied.

    Is there a correlation? Is there anything I can do?

    Reply
    • Hey Cathy,

      Sounds like it may be due to over activity of your tibialis anterior or possibly extensor digitorum muscle.

      These muscles tend to be over active in people with duck feet posture.

      You can start with a good stretch to help them settle down in between runs:

      Mark

  32. Hello Mark ! Your article is indeed very helpful however I am bit confused about what kind of problem I am actually having . My knees are straight but my feet are pointed outwards also I have flat feet . Cause of it I am not able to sit on my knees or run normally . Plz help me to know which type I am going through

    Reply
    • Hi Radnyee,

      If your knees are forwards but your tibia (lower leg bone) is pointing outwards (… with the ankles/feet following this direction), this would mean you have a degree of Tibial torsion.

      In this case, you will need to improve your internal rotation of the tibia on the femur with the medial hamstring and Popliteus muscle.

      If your knees AND tibia are forwards BUT your feet are pointing outwards, I would say you either have very poor Ankle Dorsiflexion (see this post), and/or weak arch muscles (see this post).

      Hope this makes some sense.

      Mark

  33. Hi I’m a collegiate sprinter and i have this issue. Ive been told if i fix this I’d be able to use certian muscle groups more effectively and in turn run faster and also suffer from less leg pain. I cant really tell if i have tibia external rotation or hip external rotation. My knees seem slighly turned but i can’t really tell for sure and my tibia seems slightly off but again i cant tell for sure. Also how long will strengthening the proper muscles to fix duck feet roughly take?

    Reply
    • Hi Guy,

      If your knees and feet are pointing outwards, it is more likely the hips are externally rotated.

      In this case – You will need to focus on stretching out those muscles that externally rotate the hip, and then strengthening the hip internal rotators.

      Mark

  34. Hello Mark,

    This article is really an eye-opener. I’ve seen a lot of people with duck-feet. I am amazed to know that there are ways how to correct it.

    Reply
  35. Hey Mark

    Can u have duck feet with an anterior pelvic tilt rather then a posterior tilt?
    Everything I’ve read would assume you are more likely to have duck feet with a posterior tilt
    Thanks a heap

    Romana

    Reply
  36. Hello Mark
    I am new here, but I read a few of the articles and my I really liked your blog.
    I have a question. Please try and answer it, I will be really grateful!
    I am a 16.5 year old guy. My height is stuck at about 5′ 4″ for 2 years now.
    It might be because of my very poor posture. Due to inactivity and sitting, my posture has got really bad.
    I have:
    #Anterior Pelvic Tilt
    #Hunchback posture
    #Rounded shoulders
    #When I straighten my legs, the front
    part(under knee) is tilted slightly. (Like
    when i straighten left leg, the part under
    knees is slightly left, and above knees is
    towards middle of my body. Same with
    other leg)(what is it called?)

    So the questions I want to ask are-
    1. Can I really increase my height if I correct my posture?
    2. Which posture exercise should I first target if I wish to increase my height as soon as possible(the height due to posture)? I mean, hunched back has different exercises than APT, so which one should I target first for height?
    I know you might be busy, but please reply!
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Ami,

      Addressing your posture may help you increase your height to a degree.

      Perhaps start with the hunch back posture and see how you go from there.

      If you have time on your side, you can do your APT at the same time.

      Mark

  37. Hi Mark,
    as I read through your post, it seems that my problem is actually the externally rottated tibia/fibula. Apart form the popliteus, is there a good way to isolate and strenghten only the medial hamstrings? Can you suggest a good approach.
    Thank you for the great articles, you have helped a ton!
    Keep up the great work.

    Reply
    • Hey Vasil,

      It is very difficult to isolate a single muscle with any exercise, but if you want to emphasise the medial hamstrings to internal rotate the tibia relative to the femur, you can still use the strengthening exercise for the popliteus muscle exercise.

      Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      Is there anything else I could do in order to improve my situation here. I have been doing both biceps femoris static releasea and stretches, the popliteus exercise, the knee push out plus a ton of other hip external rotation exercises almost daily for the whole summer , plus I do squats , deadlifts, Bulgaria split squats, you name it , and unfortunately I don’t see any improvements. My legs knee down are still rotated outwards in a relaxed position.

      Any additional guidelines would be much appreciated.
      Thanks again for the great info.

      Best regards,
      Vasil

    • Hey Vasil,

      Do you have a structural tibial torsion? (knees forward but tibia outward facing)

      If so – you may not see any significant improvements with increasing the control of those muscles you mentioned.

      Mark

    • Well, I think the whole tibia/fibula is somehow missaligned relative to the femur. I think it is exactly how you described it in post.

    • Hi Vasil,

      Structural tibial torsion is due to the shape of your bones/joints.

      If this is the case , there may be some limitations on the extent of changing it.

      Mark

    • Hi Mark,

      I am pretty sure now, that I don’t have structural tibial torsion. It is my tibia rotated at the knee joint, but once I got a better understanding of the structure of the lower leg an muscle I started to realize, that I do have quite big calves and that my lateral ones is almost always tight. Can this be the cause of the problem and is there a way to Target the lateral calf with a stretch and train the medial calf with some exercise.

      Thanks again!

  38. Can you please make a post about hyperextension there is not much about it on internet, also i have only my tibia pushed away like a bow leg but not the femur.

    Reply
  39. Hi Mark! I have a question about the exercise.

    c) Knee push outs
    Instructions:
    Stand up with your feet facing forwards.
    Whilst keeping your knees slightly bent, push your knees outwards.
    Do NOT lift any part of your foot off the floor.
    Aim to feel your foot arch and glute muscles activate.
    Hold for 30 seconds.
    Repeat 5 times.
    You can place a resistance band between your knees to make the exercise harder.

    Could you send a photo of this exercise, as it is not very clear how to do it.
    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hi Matteo,

      Sounds like you have Anterior pelvic tilt with tight External rotation fibres of your glutes.

      This can cause a restriction in your hip Internal rotation and cause the out turning of your foot.

      Mark

  40. When I walk I notice that my right foot is swerving to the right.
    I have a left pelvic rotation.
    Do pelvic exercises are sufficient to repair the shaper.

    Reply
    • Hi there,

      If you have a left pelvic rotation with a right leg that sticks out, chances are that your hip external rotators may be very tight.

      Stretch them out and see how that goes.

      Mark

  41. Hello mark,i cannot feel any pain when rolling biceps femoris, can my tibial torsion be caused by the tfl?
    I also have knocked knees. But when i try and rotate tibia in it goes away (but i cannot hold this godly perfect position). PLS REPLY AND HELP A POSTURELET OUT!

    Reply
  42. If only one foot is pointing outward does that mean that side of the pelvis is rotated forward or that the opposite side is rotated forward?
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Hi Mark,

      Thank you so much for making these wonderful, detailed articles. You’re truly great at what you do!

      I was wondering if you could offer me some advice. Unfortunately, I’m pretty certain my pelvis is shifted in every plane it could be. More specifically, my hip is hitched up on the right side, I have a Left Pelvis Rotation, and a Posterior Pelvic tilt. My left shoulder/trap is higher then my right (probably due to the hip hitch) and I tend to have duck feet.

      I think this may all stem from and injury to my left knee/quad many years ago I incurred when squatting incorrectly. My left VMO is undeveloped because my body/brain does not seem to want to put that much weight on it or maybe I just cant really use my left leg correctly.

      Anyway I know I’m a mess lol, but I was wondering if you had any general advice. Do you think there is any particular place I should really spend my time focusing on strengthening or stretching? I’m thinking I may have overlap because my body is so twisted up that I may get more bang for my buck so to speak by focusing more effort on one particular area.

      Thank you.

    • Hey Broken man,

      Sounds like you have trained yourself into your current posture following your injury.

      If you feel the left knee is the area that is driving all of your other compensations, I would start single leg loading patterns on that left side. (eg. lunges, single leg squat, step ups etc)

      This will your body get used to placing equal weights through your legs, and thus help with the postural compensations throughout.

      Mark

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