How to Fix Duck Feet Posture

What is Duck feet posture?

duck feet posture

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

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:

  • 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

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.


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.


 Do you want to improve your hip mobility? Feel free to check out this post: Exercise for Hip Internal Rotation.)


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!


Do you want to fix your bad posture?

Join the 30,000+ subscribers in our email list to receive postures tips, blog updates and more.

[sibwp_form id=1]

146 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

      Reply
  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

      Reply
    • Hi.
      I think I’ve got this issue.
      I’m a skinny 17 yr old and during this Quarantine, I haven’t move much just sit a lot.
      So my question is that. Can pelvic floor tightness happen from this??

      Reply
      • Hey Rahul,

        The posterior wall of the pelvic floor muscle group can get tight with a lot of sitting with the hip in external rotation. (sitting with the knees out position)

        Mark

        Reply
  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?

    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

      Reply
    • 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

      Reply
    • 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

      Reply
      • 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

        Reply
  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

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

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.