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feet point outward when walking

Do Your Feet Point Outward When Walking? – Ultimate Guide

If you are on this page, it is probably because of your feet point outward when walking. It is also a possibility that you know someone that their feet point outward when walking. The normal alignment of the body is that the feet should be parallel to each other and pointed forward.

If you observe how most people around you walk, you will notice that many of them are walking and standing while their feet point outward. Sometimes it is both feet and other times, it is only one (more often the right foot). This way of standing and walking is known as duck feet.

Here is a quick test; stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and look down. If this is your natural resting position and one or both feet are turned outward, then you have duck feet and your feet point outward when walking.

Continue reading to find out why your feet point outward when walking

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How to Fix Uneven Hips

The good news is that duck feet is usually caused by bodily imbalances that you can correct. Often the source of the problem is not in the feet but the hips. Here, poor posture and excessive sitting often create an anterior pelvic tilt or pelvis that leans forward. A tilted pelvis prevents buttocks and abs from working properly. This forces the muscles inside the hip bones, the external rotators, to slack. When these overworked muscles become too tight, they begin to pull the femur. As a result, the feet point outward when walking or standing.

You may be born with duck legs, but most of us acquire this condition over time. This may be due to a bad posture and bad movement habits. Certain professions are more subject to it. This includes work in which you have to stand for long intervals and shift your weight back and forth to sustain yourself and relieve muscle tension.

Having duck legs is certainly not fatal, but it can lead to unnecessary wear on the body. It can also change your gait because your feet point outward when walking. It can as well lead to surgery in extreme cases.

This article will explain the effect that duck feet have, both on individual joints and the body in general.

The Duck Feet

feet point outward when walking
feet point outward when walking (duck feet)

The nature of standing and walking while your feet point outward is very inefficient. The best walking pattern is with our feet pointing forward. When we walk, we want the foot to come into contact with the ground starting with our heel, followed by the outer edge of our arch, and finally ending with the tips of the feet. This ensures that the correct muscles are stretched when necessary and that our joints move as expected.

Continue reading to find out why your feet point outward when walking

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If we walk with a duck foot position, the pattern is different. First, the outer edge of the heel touches the ground, the foot rolls from the outer edge of the heel to the inside of the arch then end with the outer edge of the ball of the foot and only with the big toe.

There are several reasons why the feet begin to stabilize you by pointing your feet outward while you walk. One reason is that you have abnormally gained weight in your frame. Because of this, the rotator muscles of the hip stop working and you have to pull your leg to the outward to move forward. When the foot lands, it cannot land in a straight line, but laterally so as not to fall.

The other is also related to weight. Here, the adductors or the inside of the muscles of the upper leg become weak due to the effort it takes to keep you straight. Then the hip flexors will be unable to release, causing lower back pain and sometimes plantar fasciitis.

When our feet point outward while walking, the muscles of our buttocks and the lower part of the leg that should help us move more efficiently are cut off. Over time, these muscles become tense and immobile due to obsolescence. The joints of our knees and ankles will no longer be compatible. The connective tissue that holds them together receives greater weight that it is not designed to withstand. This can lead to a weakening of the body’s support structure and possibly knee surgery.

Continue reading to find out why your feet point outward when walking

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The origins of Duck Feet

Fortunately, it is easy to diagnose if you are one of many who have duck feet. The treatment of this condition is easy with time and consistency on your part.

feet point outward when walking
feet point outward when walking

Most of us are born with our feet turned inwards or outwards as the case may be. Doctors call this a “torsional deformity.” This is due to the position we are in when we were developing in the womb. The body often corrects itself as it ages. During the first years of our lives, most of us walk normally. But sometimes this problem is not corrected just because of the habits, movements and/or injuries of an individual. This is where current mobility techniques come in.

It should be noted that duck foot could be caused by a birth defect (something one was born with). This is usually caused by a development in the bones of the pelvis that turns the feet outward or inward. Note that this condition is extremely rare and that most cases of torsional deformities are correctable.

If you feel that there is something else causing your condition other than tight tissues, then you need to consult a healthcare professional. In these rare cases, surgery may be the only option to correct this position. But, even if surgery is necessary, you should work to keep the affected muscles and connective tissue as mobile as possible.

Continue reading to find out why your feet point outward when walking

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Test for Duck Feet

To test if your hips are the problem, lie on your back with your legs straight. Look at your knees If your knees turn outwards with your feet, then you know that your hips are to blame. If your knees are straight and centered, but your feet keep turning, the problem is at the bottom of your legs. A tight anterior tibial (the external tibial muscle) can misalign the tibia bone, which in turn removes the knee from its place and forces you to move the toe out.

Naturally, such imbalances increase your risk of injury. But your performance in the activities you enjoy may also be affected. If you are a runner, for example, your duck feet will prevent you from pushing off as strongly as you can. Also, you are not receiving any help from the muscles in your buttocks, abs or calves. This may decrease and slow down your power and pace. If you want to increase your pace, distance, and strength, then you need to work on correcting your duck feet.

To correct this problem, whether it comes from the hips or below the knees, you need to start by being conscious of how you stand and how you walk. Each time you stand, make sure your feet and knees point forward. When you are walking, make sure your feet track from heel to toe rather than from the outside of the heel to the inside of the foot. You can work your mobility all day to make sure that when you are walking your feet do not point outward. However, if you don’t solve the root of the problem, you won’t make any progress.

When addressing the actual restriction of your tissues, you can apply some mobility exercises to help ease the restriction and allow your feet to stand and move optimally.

Continue reading to find out why your feet point outward when walking

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What Can Be Done About It?

If it is a congenital problem, there is honestly not much to do. You just have to find a comfortable compromise between the alignment of the ankle, knee, and hip.

If the problem is one that is acquired, there is much more you can do about it. However, fixing the reason why your feet point outward when walking will not be easy.

First of all, you need to identify your bad habits. You have to consciously stop the way your feet point outward while you are walking. Most likely, there is more than one bad habit that has caused the problem. Be sure to check the position of your foot when standing, walking seated or lying down.

Try to keep your knee and your foot forward at all times. Do not turn the foot so much that the knee is not central. It is simply not worth sacrificing the knee to keep the foot straight.

Once you have eliminated the cause, the next thing to do is to work on your mobility and your movements. Once restored, it is much easier to maintain a good position of the foot.

Start by foam rolling your legs and hips to release the tense muscles that are causing you to lose alignment. After that, retrain and strengthen muscles that didn’t work previously. If the lower leg causes the feet to point outward while walking, follow these movements:

Stability Ball Calf Raises
  • Stand with your chest against a stability ball placed against a wall at chest height; get up on your toes.
  • Shift the total weight on one foot and lift the other foot so that it rests against the back calf of the working leg.
  • Bend the knee of your work leg slightly and stand on your toes; descend all the way so that the heel touches the ground.
  • Repeat the movement with your work leg completely straight. Then repeat with your foot. The whole series is a rehearsal. Do three sets of 15 repetitions on each leg.
  • If this is too difficult, perform with both feet on the floor.

If this above routine is difficult, you can try the one in the video below

Continue reading to find out why your feet point outward when walking

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Nose toward wall

Do your feet point outward when walking? Try the nose to wall exercise. Video source: React Physical Therapy

  • Stand on one foot, facing the wall about 12 inches away, with the other foot down, toes touching the floor. Your front leg should be straight, soft at the knee.
  • Keep your back straight, shift your weight forward from the heel to the tip of your foot so that your body is leaning towards the wall (you will not lean so far forward that your nose really touches the wall). Repeat for three sets of 15 repetitions on each leg.
  • If this is too difficult, stand on both feet.
Single-leg Deadlift

Do your feet point outward when walking? Try the Single-leg deadlift Video Source: Purplepatchfitness

  • Stand on one foot, the other foot behind you, fingers touching the floor. Your front knee should be bent slightly throughout the exercise.
  • Keep the back flat, hinge in front of the hips, until the back is parallel to the ground. Push through the heel of the standing leg to start again. Repeat for three sets of 15 repetitions on each leg.
Shin Release

Do your feet point outward when walking? Try the shin release. Video Source: React Physical Therapy

  • Find a stable, firm surface that is approximately at knee height.
  • Place a lacrosse ball on the surface and kneel with the front part of the shin (muscle only) on the ball.
  • Roll the ball up and down the muscle until the discomfort in this area reduces.
  • Move the ball around several pain points along the muscle to target the entire muscle.
  • Do this on each leg for two minutes.

Continue reading to find out why your feet point outward when walking

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Effects Of Duck Feet

Refused Shock Absorption

The arch of the foot is designed to provide shock absorption when walking, running and jumping.

When a foot is flat, the plantar fascia lengthens. The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that helps form the arch of the foot. It works like a bowstring that connects the toes with the heel bone. People with flattened arches often suffer pain in the sole of the foot. If you have ever injured or suffered from plantar fasciitis, you will know how incredibly painful it can be.

There are also several muscles that also work to help support the arch of the foot. When the feet point outward, while walking or standing, the arch flattens out. This puts these muscles in an elongated position. These muscles now do not have to work much, since a large part of the foot is resting on the floor.

Muscles do not react well to be constantly elongated and unused. The Tibialis Anterior, Tibialis Posterior, Flexor Hallucis Longus, and Flexor Digitorum Longus weaken and close effectively. Have you ever felt that pain in the front of the shin when running? It is probably your Tibialis Anterior crying while trying to cope.

Now we are in a situation where the foot has lost the ability to absorb the blows. The shock created by walking, running and jumping is therefore transferred to the rest of the body.

Ankle Stability

If your feet point outward while walking or standing, it will weaken the ligaments of the ankle (the lateral ligaments). The ligaments form our joints and help keep our bones together. If you’ve ever sprained or twisted your ankle, you’ll know where the lateral ligaments live.

The fibula is a small, long bone that extends outside the tibia. The lateral ligaments join the head of the fibula (your ankle) to your foot. When these ligaments relax, they affect the alignment and stability of the fibula and ankle.

Moving on up

The other end of the fibula is connected to the tibia by the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). LCL helps stabilize the outside of your knee. Therefore, when your feet point outward while standing or walking can actually compromise the stability of the ankle and knee.

As always, if you are concerned about your health and posture, get examined by a professional. If this article was useful to you, throw me a bone and share it with others.

Continue reading to find out why your feet point outward when walking

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Medial Collateral Ligaments

As I mentioned earlier, if your feet point outward while you are walking, your LCL can be affected. The ligaments that provide stability inside the knee (middle collateral ligaments / MCL) can also be affected.

When the foot points outward, the MCL is under constant tension. If you place a sudden load across the knee in this position, the ligament can rupture.

The MCL also joined the meniscus, which is one of two horseshoe-shaped shock absorbers deep in the knee. The meniscus also helps our knee bones to slide properly.

If the MCL is under constant tension, it can cause greater wear of the meniscus.

Cruciate Ligaments

In your knee, you have two ligaments called the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments. They form a deep cross inside the joint which helps hold the upper and lower legs together, providing stability.

By turning the foot, these ligaments unwind like a rope. This decreases the stability of the knee joint.

If you have the bad posture of walking and your feet will point outward, your cruciate ligament may tear.

Turned Off Glutes

The gluteal muscles have many roles related to movement. In addition to their role as movers, they also play an important role in stability. The gluteal muscles help stabilize the pelvis, which helps protect the lower back.

If you tighten your buttocks, you may notice that your abdominal muscles contract slightly. This happens because when your glutes fire up, the rest of your body takes it seriously. The body senses that a charge is in progress and activates the abdominal muscles to help protect the spine.

During movement, the buttock muscles help prevent/slow down the adduction and internal rotation of the leg. This, in turn, helps maintain the arch of the foot. Without this breaking action, everything collapses.

Shortened Piriformis

The piriformis is a small muscle that passes from the sacrum (the triangular bone in the lower part of the spine) to the tip of the femur (the bone in the upper part of the leg). When you turn your foot, the muscle becomes short. If you spend enough time in this position, the body decides that this is the normal rest length. The muscle simply shortens.

As mentioned earlier, with the foot extended, the glutes cannot function as efficiently. Therefore, the body must find other ways to help prevent/slow down the collapse of the knee and arch. He does this by getting help from Piriformis (among others).

Now Piriformis is just a little muscle and is not designed for it. Therefore, it will not cope well due to the fact that it is already short. The muscle becomes more rigid and may end up squeezing the sciatic nerve.

Continue reading to find out why your feet point outward when walking

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Vertebral Alignment and Leg Length

As already mentioned, when your feet point outward while walking, it will cause the arch of the foot to collapse, which effectively shortens the leg. The body must now compensate for this through the rest of the system.

If someone has a shorter right leg, their pelvis will lean forward on that side. Often this side of the pelvis also moves forward. This rotates the entire pelvis to the left, which can even affect the muscles of the opposite hip.

The lumbar spine (lower column) should now turn slightly to the right and flex to the left to compensate. Going up, the thoracic spine should turn slightly to the left (relative to the lumbar spine) and flex to the right. This process continues to the head.

All of this creates acquired scoliosis and can even affect shoulder height.


Do not be scared if your feet point outward when walking. This condition is not unfixable. All it requires is to find out why your feet point outward when walking and then tackle it from the root.

As I have highlighted above, make sure to do the exercises above. That will go a long way in helping you correct why your feet point outward when walking.

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