What have we here?

Take a look at the tibial tuberosity and then where you think the 2nd metatarsal head would be. What do you see? The 2nd metatarsal is lateral to the tibial tuberosity. You are looking at external tibial torsion.

Lets see how this external tibail torsion behaves during a knee bend on a total gym. Observe the medial drift of the knee during weight bearing knee flexion. 

In external tibial torsion there is an external torsion or a “twist” along the length of the tibia (diaphysis or long section) (need a review? click here). This occurs in this example to the degree that the ankle joint (mortise joint) can no longer cooperate with sagittal knee joint.  When taking a client with external tibial torsion and pre-postioning their foot in a relatively acceptable/normal foot progression angle as seen here, there is a conflict at the knee, meaning that the knee cannot hinge forward in its usual sagittal plane. In this case with the foot progression angle smaller than what this client would posture the foot, you an see that as they bend the knee the knee is forced to drift medially and as soon as the heel is unloaded a pure “adductory twist” is noted (you can see the heel jump medially in an attempt to find a more tolerable sagittal knee bend).

Are you looking for torsions of the lower limb in your clients ?

Are you forcing them into foot postures that look better to  you but that which are conflicting to your clients given body mechanics ?  Remember, telling someone to turn their foot in or out because it doesn’t appear correct to your eyes can significantly impair either local or global joints , and often both. Torsions can occur in the talus, the tibia and the femur.

Furthermore, torsions can have an impact on foot posturing at foot strike and affect the limbs loading response, from foot to core and even arm swing can be altered.  Letting your foot fall naturally beneath your body does not mean that you have the clean anatomy to do so without a short term or long term cost. 

Want more on torsion and versions ?  Type the words into the search box on our blog. We have plenty of good info for you.

Shawn and Ivo, The Gait Guys