This is related to this question: Is it bad that my feet turn outward when I run?

I have the exact experience, but my circumstances are a little different as I believe I have a physical condition that forces me to run this way.

I don't run much at the moment, due to a debilitating knee pain that running triggers. Recently, I was persuaded to undergo an assessment by a specialist running school, who videoed me and pointed out a few things wrong with my technique that were likely responsible for my discomfort. In particular the fact my feet turn out and I cross-over - this they blamed for the knee pains.

I took some lessons, and I've mostly fixed the cross-over. However, I cannot seem to fix the turnout without causing pain. If I do what they tell me, then the outer edge of my foot is taking nearly all the load and in an extended session, results in ankle and shin pains. I've tried explaining to them, but they seem to be used to dealing with people for whom the turnout is easily correctable - i.e. there are no physical reasons for it.

Let me explain more here - if I sit on the floor with my knees aligned vertically, my feet are turned out around 15 degrees. My feet are also turned with respect to the vertical plane by the same amount, i.e. if I sit in the same position against a wall, then I can place the outside edges against the wall, but the balls of my feet are about a finger width's distance from the wall.

What this means is that when I walk, if I turn my feet to that they point straight ahead, I end up walking almost completely on the outside edges of my feet.

The question is what should I be doing? Is my problem correctable - i.e. If I keep trying to be straighter, eventually everything will start working better or should I aim to land with my natural turn out position?

I'm not sure anymore who I should be talking to about this - the running school appear unfamiliar with how to deal with my condition. The previous "specialist" seemed to know very little about running and with hind-sight was useless to me.

Having taken advice from many different people over the past few years, what I'm looking for here is info from people who are familiar with my condition, and have experience with trying to resolve it. If you don't have this experience, please don't add your two-pennyworth for the hell of it.

  • 1
    Is it necessary that you run? If running causes debilitating pain even after correction don't do it. Find a different activity. It also may be a muscle imbalance. I have the same body type (my feet turn out), but I don't have the same problems when running. Your body should self select the best running pattern for you, unless you have something else going on.
    – JohnP
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 14:40
  • Err - well that's really helpful John - I mean why do anything using your logic... And bodies don't "self-select" ideal techniques - if we did there would be no need for technical trainers in any discipline.
    – user194276
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 15:14
  • I agree with JohnP here. It might be possible that your physical condition simply doesn't allow yourself to run. I think the best advice would be to consult a sports medicine professional who specializes in running. The question itself is hard to answer and diagnosing the problem isn't possible over the internet, probably too much guessing around without it leading to anything helpful.
    – Baarn
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 15:50
  • @user194276 - Sorry you don't like the answer, but you have "debilitating pain" when running, even after attempting the corrections. I suggested it may be a muscle imbalance, but even after correction you still have pain, which suggests that running may not be a good sport for you.
    – JohnP
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 15:52
  • 2
    Do you experience pain while running with your toes pointing outwards? If not, then just ignore what the 'experts' say and listen to your body
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 18:21

2 Answers 2


I have exactly the same issue, but without the pain. Essentially my lower leg is slightly rotated meaning that if i align my legs so my knees are pointing directly forward my feet, particularly my left foot, points slightly out. Its a physical deformity that cannot be "corrected". However, i discovered that running in stability shoes improves my gait and stops the excessive roll-in. I dont get any knee pain, have had no major injuries and regularly run marathons in under 2:50. Dont let it stop you!! Try some stability shoes and see if that helps (i run in Nike Structure 17) and stay well away from anything minimal.


If you want to be a runner, I think you should continue running, just keep in mind a few things.

You have a pronation issue and a gait issue. You should focus on the roll of your foot when you run. I am flat-footed and when I run my shins always hurt afterward, because my forefoot takes the most of my overall load.

I believe there are two methods to overcoming running issues. You can a. Run barefoot, or get into near-barefoot running, using low profile shoes will help your feet develop natural arches and your stance will get better as time goes on. I would caution this can be painful. b. Purchase some shoes that are for your type of foot, under or over pronating, comfortable with a strict and thickened arch support, this will keep the pressure off each step essentially/hopefully relieving some of the pain you associate with running, and you can focus more on clean strides and landing properly.

If pain persists after trying some corrective methods you might want to consider doing strength training lower body specifically - squats, this will strengthen your calves quads and butt creating a pro-active environment to develop better strength patterns in your legs, which will in turn effect your running. Also in order to isolate the incident to your running try an elliptical machine, this should help establish where the pain is coming from, or try running slowly so you can see at which point in your step you are experiencing the pain.

Good luck!

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