A is for Abductory Twist

July 16, 2013

An Abductory Twist is a whip of the heel that ccours in some people as the heel comes off the ground when walking.

Abductory twist, also known as a medial heel whip or medial heel whip phenomenon, is a term used to describe a characteristic movement that can be observed during the gait cycle. It occurs when the heel appears to rapidly move medially (towards the midline) just as it lifts off the ground during the early stance phase of walking or running.

The abductory twist is believed to be a compensatory mechanism that occurs due to various factors, including structural alignment issues, muscular imbalances, or abnormal foot mechanics. It is most commonly associated with excessive pronation, which is the inward rolling motion of the foot during weight-bearing activities.

When the foot pronates excessively during the gait cycle, the arch of the foot collapses and the ankle rolls inward. As the foot pushes off the ground to propel forward, the arch begins to rise, and the foot starts to supinate (roll outward). However, in cases of an abductory twist, the heel lifts off the ground before the arch fully stabilizes, causing a sudden medial movement of the heel. This twist or whip motion can be visually observed during gait analysis.

The abductory twist is often considered a compensatory mechanism to help the foot clear the ground during propulsion. It is typically seen in individuals with conditions such as overpronation, excessive joint mobility, or forefoot varus (inward tilting of the front part of the foot).

While an abductory twist may not cause significant pain or functional impairment on its own, it can be an indicator of underlying biomechanical issues or gait abnormalities. It is important to assess the entire lower extremity biomechanics and address any contributing factors to prevent potential complications or injuries, such as overuse injuries, joint pain, or instability.

If you have concerns about your gait or notice an abductory twist during walking or running, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist or physical therapist, who can perform a comprehensive gait analysis, evaluate your foot mechanics, and provide appropriate treatment or interventions to address any underlying issues. They may recommend orthotics, footwear modifications, strengthening exercises, or other interventions tailored to your specific needs to optimize your gait mechanics and minimize any potential complications.


Comments are closed.