Therapy Thursday-Squatting Part 2

In last week's post we discussed "Butt Wink". This week we cover the second most common question I get about squattig: "How do I position my feet?"

 

Do you squat with toes straight, or toes out?

 

First Things First

  1. If you squat with "toes forward or straight", you still should have a slight angle to your feet.Slight!
  2. There is a difference if you use a squat to assess mobility, or you are actually training. To be consistent with your assessments its better to have toes straight, so you compare apples to apples. Consistency!
  3. We all squat differently. Our mobility, stability and anatomy is different and therefore our squats will look and should be different as well. Your squat should be based on what is best for you. Individualized!

Why Toes straight?

Squatting with the toes straight forward is the most difficult way to squat. Hence we use it for the assessment. It requires complete ankle and hip mobility and knee stability. So unless you can perform a solid squat with toes forward, without any compensation elsewhere in the dynamic chain, you should not train your squat with toes forward!

For athletic purposes we know that its best to have a straight squat, as this is the foundation for jumping and landing during sports. Most injuries tend to happen when you land with toes out and the knees caving in. If you consistently train with toes straight you will develop a movement pattern that is based on a straight toe position and it may reduce injuries. But do you have the requires mobility and stability to train like that?

Why Toes Out?

Some "Toes Out" is typically best for most people. Depending on the anatomy of our hips, depending on the mobility of our hips, we may not always be able to squat with toes straight. At least not into a deep squat. So if you do not have the required mobility in your hips, or your ankles, it is perfectly allright to toe out as needed. Many people forget that restricted ankle mobility will require you to compensate elsewhere. The hips and knees are most likely the make up the lack of mobility in the ankle(s). I rathe rhave you toe out, than have a valgus or varus at the knees

Bottomline

We all squat differently, but the squat is typically best performed with a slight toes out position to avoid pain or other issues in the lower quadrant. Everything changes when you have pain with your squat. Now we need to be much more specific. We need to evaluate what is contributing to your pain and what we can do to reduce these contributing factors. Have your coach look at your technique. Come see me for an assessment to see if there is something we can work on together.


Dr. Pieter de Smidt, PT, DPT

Do You Have Pain? Schedule a Free Assessment | Dr. de Smidt has over 30 years of experience as a Physical Therapist. He has achieved certifications in Mckenzie Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy, Manual Therapy and Sports Therapy. With his Post-Professional Doctorate in PT he specialized in management of musculoskeletal injuries of the neck, back, shoulder, hip and knee.