If your feet are turned out excessively, you may have “duck feet” (aka “penguin-toed” and “toeing out”), which is a postural issue where your feet point out to your sides instead of straight ahead.
Depending on your body’s structure, this may be a normal position for you and it may not be an issue at all. Or, it could be a postural dysfunction caused by problems at the hips, knees, or ankles. If that’s the case, I’ve found that the hips are the usual culprit.
So, here are some exercises for improving hip internal rotation to help fix duck feet.
Fix Your Duck Feet by Improving Hip Internal Rotation (Q+A)
Here are four exercises that will help you restore the internal rotation at your hips (from easiest to hardest):
1) Standing, single-leg, straight leg internal rotation – Raise one leg, locking the knee and pulling the toes back. Maintaining the knee lock and ankle flexion, rotate internally at the hip (i.e. towards your centerline) trying to point the toes of your raised leg toward your planted foot. Repeat for reps.
2) Standing single-leg, bent-leg internal rotation (the “hurdler swoop”) – Standing on one leg, swoop the opposite leg up and around in a circle as if raising it over an invisible hurdle that’s placed off to your side. As you swoop the leg forward, begin to internally rotate at the hip as you reach your foot toward the ground, placing it down on the ball of foot first, then pressing the heel down as you “corkscrew” your hip internally. Reverse the process and repeat for reps.
3) Hip internal rotation from tall lunge position – From a tall lunge position with rear knee off the ground, and as close to locked as is comfortable, twist your rear leg internally – reaching your outside ankle toward the ground – while keeping your front leg braced. Repeat for reps.
4) Hip internal rotation from low lunge position with front knee blocked and opposite arm down – From a low lunge position, block the outside of your front knee with your hand or elbow so that it won’t move as you internally rotate your rear leg with knee locked. Opposite arm should be placed on the ground for support and balance. Repeat for reps.
- Be mindful of your posture and foot position as you go about your day and whenever training – trying to keep your feet pointed straight (or in their natural position) as often as possible.
- Don’t move into pain – a little discomfort is okay, but stay away from pain
- Practice these exercises often to see if they produce positive results – do 5-10+ reps per exercise, per leg, at least once a day and up to several times per day.
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Health-First Fitness Coach