How to fix Duck Feet and Walk properly

A duck-footed posture is one in which your feet turn outward at 45-degree angles when you’re standing or walking. This problem develops when one or a combination of tightness and weakness in opposing muscle groups causes various postural imbalances. Duck feet are much more severe than it appears since it’s the source of the lower back, hip, foot, and knee discomfort. It makes you more vulnerable to harm.

We’ll go through how to tell if you have duck feet for sure, as well as the underlying causes that cause them to develop. Finally, we’ll go through some techniques and exercises you can do to correct your duck-footed posture.

Why is it essential to fix Duck Feet?

You want your Duck feet to be corrected for several reasons. The difficulties begin when you walk long-term with your feet turned out. Walking inefficiently and dangerously, you roll from the outside edge of your heels to the inside of your foot when you have a duck-footed posture. Rather than bearing the impact of your entire body in an equal and balanced way, this style of walking departs from the usual method in which your feet and legs absorb the shock.

When you walk from your outer heel to the interior of your foot, you create muscle imbalances that only contribute to the problem. When your feet are positioned at an incorrect angle, it strains your knees and ankles, leading to recurring injury, weak joints, and even knee surgery. Duck feet are also associated with lower back discomfort, hip pain, and foot pain because these parts are all out of alignment mechanically.

What causes Duck Footed Posture?

There is no single alignment problem because the inner workings of your body are all interconnected. The feet themselves are not the cause of duck feet; instead, they’re usually a consequence of hip or knee misalignment. Posture is affected by muscular imbalances that develop over time as behaviors, injuries, tightness, and repetitive movement patterns cause muscle asymmetries. Duck feet develop as a result of mobility problems in your feet due to injuries or tightness. Finding out what’s causing your duck feet is an essential first step toward treating it. In the next part, we’ll assist you in determining what is causing your duck feet.

How can you know you have Duck Feet?

You may learn more about your duck feet by taking a closer look. Let’s take a look at how to correct duck feet caused by various factors and some tests that might help you figure out what’s causing your duck feet.

1. Duck Feet caused by Externally Rotated Hips

Externally rotated hips can cause duck feet. The rotation of the hips causes the entire leg (femur and shins) to point outward, giving it the shape of duck feet. Externally rotated hips are generally caused by tight glutes (particularly the piriformis) and weak hip internal rotators.

You may treat duck feet caused by too much hip external rotation by stretching and releasing the glutes (by stretching and relaxing them) and strengthening the hip internal rotators to realign the hips so that they rotate more ‘internally’ rather than ‘externally.’ You may check whether or not your duck feet are firmly planted in your hips by lying flat on the floor on your back. Look down at your knees and relax. If your knees and feet are turned out, it’s because of your hip alignment. In a later section, we’ll provide stretches and exercises to correct duck-footed posture caused by perpetually rotated hips.

2. The posteriorly tilted pelvis causes duck feet.

A posterior pelvic tilt (the front of the pelvis tilting up and the back down) may lead to a hip that opens outwards. When you have a posterior pelvic tilt, your glutes and hamstrings (and core) are predisposed to duck feet due to the way it tightens and over-act them. In this scenario, you’ll need to loosen up the muscles in your buttocks and thighs and lengthen your lower back and hip flexors to get your hips into a more neutral posture. These are also the actions taken to correct a posterior pelvic tilt. This post will not include individual exercises to cure duck feet caused by a posterior pelvic tilt.

3. Tibia External Rotation Causes Duck Feet

Even if your hips are perfectly positioned, duck feet can appear. So, how can duck feet still appear? If your hips are in correct alignment (not in external rotation), but you still have duck feet, the source of the outward turn may be just below the knee and cause the tibia (shin bones) to point outwards. As a result, your feet will stick out. The usual reason for this is tight hamstrings, which can cause knee discomfort when you participate in intensive physical activity.

What is the best way to check for external tibial rotation? External tibial rotation is when your kneecaps face upwards while your toes point outwards when you lie flat on your back and look down toward your feet. The tibia, which is the shin bone, occurs as a result of misaligned knee joints.

The good news is that misalignment can usually be relieved through the strengthening, stretching, and relaxing muscles involved in the malfunction.

4. Duck Feet are a Result of Inadequate Ankle Mobility

Ankle alignment problems less often cause duck feet. Foot and ankle problems might induce your feet to turn out as a result of compensation for discomfort or restricted mobility, which becomes standard practice throughout repeated muscular activities. When your dorsiflexion is restricted, which means you can’t pull your toes up toward your shins to walk with your toes facing front, you compensate by traveling from the outer foot to the inner foot.

Similarly, limited plantar flexion, which is the polar opposite of dorsiflexion, might prevent you from walking with your feet facing ahead. A strain that has not healed correctly may restrict a person’s mobility to avoid discomfort. This tightens the joint capsule over time, leading to scar tissue and limiting dorsiflexion and plantar flexion. Gaining your ability to point and flex your feet might indicate whether your ankles are affecting your foot alignment. Stretching and relaxing your calves might assist in this situation. We’ll go over how to accomplish it in detail later on. You may determine whether or not your ankles have mobility difficulties using the test demonstrated in the video below.

5. Flat Feet/Pronated Foot

You’re more likely to walk outer foot to inner foot rather than heel to toe due to the imbalance caused by flat feet, which have collapsed arches and virtually no arch support. Your ankles will collapse inwards if your arches are fallen. You may prevent an inward collapse by curving your feet outward and maintaining your legs upright and balanced. Duck feet are caused by flat feet, which can be challenging to correct. Strengthening the muscles in your arches and wearing shoes with adequate arch support might help prevent duck feet.

Other causes of Duck Feet

If none of these tests indicate the source of your duck feet, it’s a good idea to see a health professional. Following the steps mentioned in this blog will not be enough in some situations. If you have a more serious structural problem that is causing your alignment to be off, such as a bone defect or previous injury, it’s critical to get treatment.

Exercises and Stretches to Correct Duck Feet

Let’s look at what you can do at home to repair duck feet. This portion is divided into sections depending on the reason for your duck feet. You must know what’s causing your duck feet so you can address it accordingly. If you’re still confused, go back and read the previous section or see a doctor get further information. It takes perseverance to see results, but these exercises may provide you some immediate comfort if you’re in pain.

The treatments that help cure duck feet do not aim to force you to keep your feet pointed in but rather seek to fix the muscular problems that produce your misalignment for natural foot posture to return. To assist you in maintaining proper alignment, specific muscles must be strengthened, whereas others must be Relaxed to release incorrect bone locations.

You may focus on the muscles that need to be strengthened by performing strength training workouts that put aside those muscles, and you can loosen tense tissues with stretches and self-massage techniques. We’ll show you how it’s done in this part.

1. Fixing Duck Feet caused by External Hip Rotation

If your buttocks are responsible for producing duck feet, you’ll need to strengthen the muscles that rotate your legs inward and loosen those that cause them to point outward.

(1) Release your External Hip Rotator Muscles

When you walk with your hips turned out, the part of your glutes responsible for turning out your hips gets too tight, constricted, and shortened. Use a massage ball, tennis or lacrosse ball, or a foam roller to loosen it. Get on the floor or a mat, and lay the massage tool beneath your buttocks on one side. Use the tool to massage your glutes and discover the most unpleasant one. It’s more than likely to be the lower glute region, which contracts and activates when you rotate your leg outward.

Dig as much into the region as you can withstand the agony for 1 to 2 minutes. This procedure will help muscles maintain their form by allowing you to remove the fascia surrounding them. The objective is to stretch and relax the glutes, and the compression of the massage tool disrupts the muscle’s tension and tightness, which keeps it in its contracted position. Make sure you apply it to both sides. The most unpleasant trigger points are the ones that need your attention the most. Massaging and myofascial release are simple techniques you may use every day to help your hips get back to normal.

(2) Stretch your External Rotator Muscles

Different glute stretches target different portions of the glutes. Externally rotator muscles can be targeted by:

  • Cross your left knee over the right and lay your left ankle across your right thigh while sitting in a chair.
  • To increase the stretch, grab hold of the left knee with both hands and draw your left knee upward toward your right shoulder until you feel a sensation of stretching.
  • For 30 seconds, hold your leg out and relax it. Repeat with the other side.

(3) Strengthen your Internal Hip Rotator Muscles

When you put your hand on your buttock and rotate one leg inwards, the internal hip rotator muscles inside each hip fire up and get active. This is the muscle you should work on since if you have duck feet, it has been stretched out in a lengthened position where it isn’t keeping your legs in alignment.

Reverse Clam

You may strengthen your hip internal rotators by performing the exercise illustrated above.

  • Lie down on a mat with your legs bent at a 90-degree angle and stacked on top of each other on one side.
  • Place a foam roller, ball, or folded towel between your thighs to ensure that they are parallel.
  • Internally rotate the hip on top to keep your knees in place as you raise your lower leg and foot.
  • Feel the strain in your hip as you turn inward and lift your foot, then lower back down and repeat.

Lunge Exercise

  • Take a forward lunge with your front knee bent at a 90-degree angle and your back knee straight.
  • Bend your rear leg so that your knee points toward the inside of your body and the outer ankle tracks toward the floor.
  • To finish a rep, return to the beginning position and complete it.
  • Continue with more reps while keeping your front leg motionless and holding on to a wall or chair for support.

If your hips are stuck in external rotation, read this section to learn how to fix it.

2. Fixing Duck Feet caused by External Tibia Rotation

The hamstrings, the group of large muscles on the back of your thighs, comprise various muscles. Take a seat and place your hand near the knee joint, just under your thigh. Sensate the lateral hamstring (on the outer side of your thigh, near the knee joint) contract as you rotate your tibia outwards, gently inwards, and outwards. If your tibia is trapped in external rotation, your lateral hamstring will be tense.

(1) Lateral Hamstring Release and Stretch

  • Place a massage ball, lacrosse ball, tennis ball, or softball under your lateral hamstrings while sitting on a chair or the floor.
  • Turn it around with the ball against the floor until you feel the tight, painful spot.
  • Roll the ball a little by keeping your lower leg in your hand and gradually straightening and bending your knee just slightly enough.
  • To loosen up the muscle tissue and fascia, continue to make these little motions with the ball.

(2) Strengthen your Medial Hamstrings

Your medial hamstring (correctly known as the Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus muscle), unlike the lateral hamstring, is more on the inner, or medial, side of your back of the thigh. It originates inside your glute and travels down through your knee, attaching at the top of your shin bone on the inner side. The medial hamstring contracts when you bend your lower leg inward from the knee joint.

If your shins are perpetually turned out, this muscle has most likely become lengthened and weak, especially when compared to the lateral hamstrings opposing it. You’ll feel the medial hamstring tense when you turn your tibia inwards and the tendons that course along this muscle when you sit on a chair and place your hand beneath your knee joint.

Leg curls and deadlifts are two exercises that strengthen your medial hamstring and aid in leg muscle alignment. At a gym, sit or lie down for hamstring curl machine leg curls.

To execute a deadlift with dumbbells, follow these steps:

  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand upright.
  • Bend your knees and grab the barbell bar/dumbbells with a shoulder-width grip, palms facing you.
  • Bend your knees until your shins contact the bar.
  • Bend only the knees and hips, not your back, while flattening your chest and raising your chest.
  • Straighten your legs and hips to reach an upright standing posture as you straighten your arms and back.
  • Bend your knees and hips again until your shins come into contact with the bar
  • Continue to perform reps, allowing it to feel in the back of your thighs.

It’s a good idea to have someone see you while you’re doing leg curls and deadlifts and make sure your tibia is facing forward. When your feet are turned out while performing these, the lateral hamstrings will get activated instead. Feel it in your inner hamstrings as you rotate your shins forward.

3. Correcting Duck Feet Caused by Limited Dorsiflexion

You may have restricted dorsiflexion if you can’t raise your feet’s balls while standing. The most typical reasons are ankle sprains and calf tightness. Stretching your calf muscles can usually enhance dorsiflexion and help prevent duck feet. The “knee-to-wall stretch” can help you improve your calf flexibility. Take a wide-stance forward lunge with both feet on the floor, and one knee bent and contacting a wall. Feel a stretch in your calve of the straight leg behind you.

Doing this stretch regularly may help restore the imbalances in your ankles and lower legs so that you can stride with your feet ahead of you. The calf muscle works against the tibialis anterior, which is a muscle on the front of your lower leg. The tibialis anterior is stretched when the calf muscle is squeezed. To avoid the negative impact of tight calves on your duck feet, consider also strengthening the tibialis anterior. This would help with dorsal flexion by shortening the muscle. The video below demonstrates a stretching exercise to help strengthen the tibialis anterior.

When it comes to correcting your duck feet, there are a few factors to consider.

Resolving duck feet isn’t a fast process, even if you see a chiropractor for an adjustment. It necessitates correcting muscular imbalances that influence your posture alignment, and making long-term changes to your muscles necessitates time and practice. Turning your feet inward will not help you correct your duck feet. When you walk, forcing the correction makes you more likely to sustain an injury and develop additional alignment issues.

It’s as simple as that. You have to give time daily to work on your duck feet with specific workouts and walk normally the rest of the time. For example, foam rollers, massage balls, and other self-massage equipment can assist prevent muscular tightness that leads to alignment difficulties such as duck feet by frequently using them. It’s also critical to stretch on a regular basis.

To prevent duck feet from returning, do the exercises and stretches on a regular basis after you’ve seen results and corrected your duck feet. You should consider strengthening and relaxing all of your muscles in a holistic, balanced manner instead of just focusing on the muscles that caused your duck feet once you’ve positioned your legs and feet facing forward.

Fixing Your Duck Feet should be a concern for you

Duck feet are pretty common, and many individuals who suffer from them don’t realize how badly they bother others. Your feet, on the other hand, act as a foundation when it comes to alignment. Duck feet standing, walking, and working put a strain on your body from the feet to the top of your head, making you more vulnerable to developing additional alignment problems and injuries. The good thing is that if you put effort and care into the muscles that keep your misalignment in place, you can resolve your duck feet.

Only perform these exercises on the afflicted limb if you only have one leg that is turned out. To target, each muscle group, balance out by performing leg exercises on both legs after correcting the afflicted limb. Duck feet can’t be corrected with the exercises and stretches we discussed if there’s a deep-rooted structural issue that causes your legs, tibia, or feet to turn outward. See a professional if you think that muscular imbalance isn’t the underlying problem.

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