Running with ‘duck feet’
In our stores we come across quite a few customers who run with ‘duck feet’. So, if you've noticed your knees are externally rotated and your feet are significantly out-toeing during your walk or run, don’t worry – you’re not alone!
How to know if I toe-out while running
If you’re not sure that’s your problem (sometimes you might be not aware of the position of your leg while running) you can easily check it. Stand in a relaxed position, take a few steps back and forth and after you stop, look down and notice how your feet and knees are naturally positioned. You can also ask someone to record a video of your run or walk from behind.
Why do I toe-out while running?
Possible reasons are:
- Hip muscle imbalances
- Anatomical hip position
- Torsional deformity
The good news is that the most common reason is an imbalance in the body that can be fixed or highly improved. So, don’t worry – with a little patience and consistency you can enhance the body's performance.
Exercises for feet turning out
Splayed feet are more prone to overpronate, which has an impact on the whole kinetic chain in your body. We can’t separate the foot as in individual part – any imbalance and resulting compensation around one joint influences the reaction of another part. Out-toeing causes shin rotation, which causes knee imbalance. That causes stiffness in our hip or glute area which, has an impact on our spine. Nice, huh? That’s why improving your duck feet is highly correlated with correct balance of your hip's internal rotators.
But don’t worry, we’ve prepared for you a short video with a few simple exercises to bring balance to your hip muscles. Here we show you a holistic approach to reducing the tightness of overactive muscles and strengthening weak parts of your hips.
Thera-Band Resistance Bands
The red band provides medium resistance (5.5 pounds of force when stretched to 200% of its length); green provides a heavier resistance of 6.7 pounds; blue provides heavier resistance (with 8.6 pounds of force). Higher resistance bands are great for people who already work out regularly. Beginners may want to start with a lower one.
How should my feet turn when running?
Slight out-toeing is totally normal. Your feet probably won’t be 100% straight when you run. But it’s important to keep correct landing mechanics. If you’re a heel-striker your foot should land on the outside of your heel and push off from the big toe. Natural dorsiflexion and stiffness created by the foot arch and ankle give a powerful push off. If you run with ‘duck feet’ that efficiency is highly reduced. Correct posture during the movement is important for both injury prevention and running performance. If you want to run fast, duck feet slow you down and significantly limit the power generated during push-off.
What if only one foot turns out?
Our body will never be fully and perfectly aligned, so little imbalances are normal. We have a dominant and non-dominant leg, exactly as we do with our arms. The generation of force is uneven, which sometimes can cause over- or under-usage of the limbs. If only one leg turns out when you run, just be more focused on the ‘more problematic’ leg in your workout routine. But there’s no harm in doing those exercises on the other leg as well. Also, it might be helpful to have a closer look at your hips, as they might be imbalanced. Implementing additional stretching or strengthening exercises might be beneficial!
What are the best shoes for duck feet when running?
Usually running with duck feet is also connected with overpronating. Most of my customers with splayed feet need supportive shoes. However, fitting is very individual and there're plenty of supportive shoes on the market. I would highly recommend for you to get properly fitted in a specialist running store, like Run and Become. We offer in-store gait analysis, or online gait analysis.
Why do my feet flick out when I run?
Kicking out your feet while running is a body compensation due to weak adductors and internal hip rotator muscles. Think of your body as trying to move in the easiest way possible, which will not necessarily be the best or healthiest for you. If the strength of your adductors or internal hip rotators is not sufficient to cope with the reactive forces of running, that ‘flick’ or ‘kick’ is just your body trying to complete the task given by you. Exercises for improving duck feet will reduce that ‘flick out’ as well!
These are exercises that we've found very useful and want to share with our customers. But we're not certified instructors. Always consult your specialist before beginning any exercise programme. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.