How to Fix Duck Feet: External Tibial Torsion

How to Fix Duck Feet: External Tibial Torsion

Wondering where your duck footed walking might be stemming from? For many of you, believe it or not, it’s not coming from you glutes!

Here’s a video that will shed a bit of light on the topic, along with a myofascial release technique to help improve your posture/integration in your movement.

Release intentionally, not habitually,


Transcript: How to Fix Duck Feet: External Tibial Torsion

Hello, this is Naudi Aguilar of Functional Patterns.

For today’s video, I’m going to show you a myofascial release technique to help address a duck walk.

To be more scientific, addressing an external tibial torsion.

Now, in videos past, I’ve discussed the implications of gluteal muscles activating to externally rotate the femurs, to externally rotate the feet.

To almost point the feet outward.

But that problem was that essentially what I started finding is that, by making people aware of this, and telling them yeah you know, you shouldn’t point your feet outward, they started to force their feet straight in.

And essentially, to not get too complicated, what they’ve actually done is they’ve actually over rotated their feet inward (How to Fix Duck Feet: External Tibial Torsion).

And then from there, what they almost did is created another imbalance.

Where the feet were still pointing outward, not necessarily because of the glute muscles, but more so because of the muscles that are firing to externally rotate at the tibia.

So if you’re a person that does suffer from an internal rotation of the knee, where the knee kind of does come inward, it’s quite likely that if your feet are still pointing outward, it’s not happening at the hip joint – How to Fix Duck Feet: External Tibial Torsion.

It’s actually happening directly at the knee joint, where the tibia does rotate outward.

And so today what I’m going to show you guys is a direct trigger point that you will want to hit in order to alleviate that external tibial torsion, and enable you to point that foot straight forward.

So essentially what I want you to do first, is I’m going to have you, we’re going to be using a chair.

I want you to have a seat. And I want you to just take one of your hands and I want you to bring it underneath the lateral part just behind your knee.

So we’re going to go a little bit to the outside here.

And I want you to kind of just strum back and forth as you’re there until you kind of feel kind of like a guitar string.

Obviously not a guitar string, definitely thicker than that, but you should feel a strand of muscle running in that direction.

Now what I want you to do from there, as your knee is bent, I want you to start rotating your tibia back and forth this way.

You might notice that there’s going to be contracting and relaxing of the tissues right there where you are holding with your left hand.

So in that regard, if I begin to turn it outward is usually when you should feel the contraction happening at that point.

Likely what’s happening if you have an external tibial torsion, the muscles proximal to the knee joint at this point are probably going to be very tight, and it’s quite likely you’re going to have to release them if you want that tibia to straighten out a little bit. (How to Fix Duck Feet: External Tibial Torsion)

So, what we’re going to do is actually use a softball here.

It’s about twice the size of a lacrosse ball. I’m sure you can find all kinds of variations, depending on where you’re at on the planet.

There are different sports everything, so if I’m thinking about getting a ball, it’s going to be about this size.

Maybe twice the size of a lacrosse ball, twice the size of a tennis ball. And all I’m going to do is just bring it directly underneath that point.

And rather than on a normal hamstring, being where we keep the leg completely straight in this fashion, what I want you to do is actually rotate the leg outward in this way, and then begin to apply your pressure.

Then you can slowly begin to go through the process of slight knee extension and flexion.

So we’re not thinking about getting dead center on the hamstring, we’re trying to go a little bit lateral.

Almost like at a posterior 45 degree angle off the inferior portion of the thigh.

So we kind of just move across there.

In terms of doing the myofascial release, sometimes it can be good to move it around ever so slightly, I like to do it in about millimeter increments, maybe even a centimeter increment (How to Fix Duck Feet: External Tibial Torsion).

But typically I like moving it in just small, small increments. Before I used to hold myofascial release trigger points still, but what I’ve been finding is that I just tend to get a better effect when there’s just a small amount of movement.

Not big, not huge ranges of motion, but just tiny.

If you do small incremental things, you’re going to kind of begin to feel some of those distortions probably unravel a little bit faster.

So if it [falls 00:03:51](How to Fix Duck Feet: External Tibial Torsion) in your position, you could actually move up the thigh just a little bit more.

And kind of just go down the spectrum of about halfway down the thigh, all the way down to that lateral portion of the knee.

Now, keep in mind, were going to be hitting into muscles like the biceps femoris, the long and short head of the biceps femoris.

We’re also going to be hitting parts of the posterior side of the vastus lateralis, and those muscles, it’s almost like there’s like a fusion between all those tissues, along with the IT band.

And so really what I’m trying to do is create some sliding of those tissues there, because they are probably all kind of just gunked up right now.

And by you getting in here, you’re going to enable yourself to create that sliding pattern, and have probably a better functioning knee.

So if you are a person that tends to have knee problems, for guys that do jiu jitsu, this is a huge problem.

People who do jiu jitsu oftentimes are stuck in a hip flexion, and that doesn’t promote good gluteal activity.

And if there’s no gluteal activity, that’s usually, in terms of the glute mac, that’s usually when the knees drop inward, into that internal rotation.

And then the tibias will externally rotate as an act of compensation.

So if you are a person that does like jiu jitsu, or any kind of ground work if you’re a wrestler, this is going to be a really good technique for you.

If you are a person that suffers from knee pain, it’s quite likely that this is something that will give you quite an advantage.

Just simply because, especially people who’ve had ACL tears, the most common biomechanical trait that I’ve found with people who have gotten ACL tears is that they do have an excessive external tibial torsion, along with an excessive femoral rotation coming inward.

I do hope that you found this video to be informative.

Pl like it and share it with your friends.

Anything you guys can do to help me out with sharing this information is always appreciated on my end.

This is Naudi Aguilar of Functional Patterns reminding you to live intentionally and not habitually.



  1. Zac Fenech June 1, 2015 at 11:53 am - Reply

    hey mate I have ossgoodsclaters on my knees I’m 25 and in so much pain what’s the best thing to try fix it ?

    • JO STOREY January 23, 2016 at 4:44 pm - Reply

      Osgoods should have sorted it’s self when all your growth plates fuse which for men I think is sometime around 21. I would get it checked again. The IT band may need some work as this helps for my son who has it although is painful at the time

      • DajM February 2, 2016 at 9:58 am - Reply

        I’ve had Osgoods since I was 14. I’m 38. I train lots of adult athletes with it, as well. It is common for it to not correct itself, as you say, by adulthood.

  2. Kym June 2, 2015 at 9:19 am - Reply

    Would you give your take on dead lifts and Pilates. Thank You for your time and all your amazing work 🙂

  3. Lauren June 5, 2015 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Naudi, I have found in my practice that the hip flexors often strongly come in to play with this type of situation. It seems like a very good approach to both stretch the hip flexors and utilize the information presented here as a very nice combination for a good treatment protocol. Thank you as always for this information.

  4. Andrea Jones June 6, 2015 at 8:42 am - Reply

    This is amazing thank you….I have so many clients that squat with there feet turned out …..Any information please for myself, I have had a acl reconstruction , they took the inside meniscus out left half of the outside there , but it is torn… I get a lot of calf and side of the knee pain, can you recommend anything i can do to help this please
    Andrea x

  5. Robyn June 7, 2015 at 1:00 pm - Reply

    HI Naudi

    I really enjoyed your explanation and demo – Thank you!

    Its the first post I’ve seen of yours and I look forward to finding more.

    Thank you!

  6. pascal August 25, 2015 at 11:42 am - Reply

    I am not sharing that idea that duck feet “stem from” external ischio, duck feet can not directly come from external ischio as that do not have a strong action in any pattern of movement. They can be as you remark because of an incorrect correction or adaptation of the femoral bone. Although the myofascial release method is useful to work with other trigger area in the gluteus area.

  7. Kevin Norris September 19, 2015 at 4:13 am - Reply

    Thank you very informative

  8. Tonia October 27, 2015 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    You are the first and only person I’ve heard address this issue. I have been trying to get doctors attention on this for some time as I have noticed a huge problem with my knees. I have had both my knees replaced when I was 19 and 20 years later I had them revised its been 3 years later and my knees are turning in more and more as I walk, mind you the artificial joints are checking out perfectly so there’s not a prob there but they feel week around the joint and I’ve been exercising in the gym to keep strength up and careful not to over do but doesn’t help, knees keep turning in. I would like to know if you have any further info on this that you wouldn’t mind sharing. I’d like to make sure I work the correct area. Thanks

  9. estee November 7, 2015 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Great video.

  10. Mb November 22, 2015 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Is this similar for pigeon toe?

  11. James November 25, 2015 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    Great info..I have a client with bad case of duck feet

  12. James November 27, 2015 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    i love ths video.. i have a clients with this problem

  13. Dr Bart February 14, 2016 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Great info thanks!!

  14. Matt June 2, 2016 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    This is excellent advice if the source of the external rotation is the biceps femoris muscle. He mentions the flute as a source. One other source is the lateral gastrocnemius. A simple overhead squat assessment performed by a qualified personal trainer, PTA or physical therapist could isolate the overactive and under active muscles and help design a program that includes stretches, MFR and strengthening to correct the issue.

  15. Josh July 27, 2016 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Nice video! I’ll definitely be using this variation with some of my clients who fit that description!

  16. Dalton Pruitt August 13, 2016 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Love your information, videos, and Instagram page!!! So much of this info I have started using!

  17. Leanne August 25, 2016 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    After years of Crossfit and other training, I recently had my posture corrected by a P.T who was absolutely spot on with my “duck feet”. I had never realized how much my knees flopped in, and am now making steps to correct this!

    Thanks for the fabulous info, it will be extremely helpful!

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