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Are you duck footed?

Duck footed.

This is what I call when the feet turn out. This past Sunday I ran a 5k race and I happened to noticed a lot of people running duck footed. Yes, this is what personal trainers look at and I thought to myself, “that’s not good.” There are many reasons why running duck footed can be bad. Let’s take a look:

First, is the alignment. When doing any activity, you want to make sure the knees track parallel with the toes. The reason for this is to make sure there is no unnecessary pressure on any joint, especially the knees. The hip, knee, and ankle should be aligned so that it supports each other. When doing squats, your hip, knees, and toes should align with each other to make sure the pressure is going to the muscles. If the alignment is off, then usually it goes to the joint. For instance, if your knee caves in during squats you usually experience discomfort or pain in the inside of the joint. That’s due to the alignment. The glutes are not firing properly and the pressure goes straight to the joint.

Alignment is key.

Walking, jogging, and running should be executed the same way. When your foot turns out, the knees are not tracking properly. Unless you run like Phoebe from Friends (hopefully you watched that episode), it’s not good for the joints. My best advice is to use a treadmill and see what your feet are doing. I like to set the speed on a comfortable jog pace, so I can focus on making sure my toes are straight. Once I feel like they are, I pick up my pace.

Secondly, is the imbalances you create when being duck footed. When the foot turns out, you put more pressure on the outer part of your shins, the peroneals, and outer quads. Meaning, there’s less hip activity and more knee pounding. When running, you want to make sure the back side (glutes, hamstrings, and calves) are working efficiently so you can save your joints. Ever wondered why jogging/running hurts your back? Not enough movement in the hips. The glutes and core aren’t firing properly and the back is just taking a pounding, which results in that discomfort. Based on the angle of your feet or knees, it targets a particular muscle. That’s how specific the human body is. Fascinating, right?

Lastly, is the range of motion. It’s a lot harder to pick up your feet when turned out. Unless you have good ankle mobility, this gets limited when duck footed. Try going up hills with your feet turned out and tell me how much harder it is. So there you have it. Next time you go out for a jog or run, pay attention to your feet and what it’s doing. It tells you a lot, so make sure to correct it so you can run more efficiently and longer. Hope you liked this week’s blog. Stay tuned for more next Wed…………….Kei

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