Parallel Leg Position: Tibial Torsion and understanding it in Pilates

Light weighted Rotational Disks – Tibial Torsion and Hip Q-angle.  I am bow legged and my parallel is internal rotation with a straight leg.  

These disks are very helpful for me because they give me feedback.  They are weighted with a light spring and I have to maintain even pressure as I move through the positions.

There are two different scenarios for tibial torsion – knock kneed or bow legged.  The cuing will be different for each client.

What can we learn about tibial torsion?

  1. Recognize it is a problem coming from the hip
  2. Release the fascia in the  foot and ankle as well as mobilize the hip joint INDEPENDENTLY to maintain full range.

Why is this important?

Because all bodies are unique and if we as teachers give only 1 cue for the foot —  a good percentage of the clients will not be able to execute the movement due to structural issues.  Very few clients have knee over toe perfect parallel alignment.  A cue I like to cue is “parellelish” meaning 10-12 degrees of the foot either slightly inverted or rotated.

So what happens if we force the foot into a “perfect parallel” – yes we can work towards being closer to knees over toes; however, if the client has not released the fascia imbalances then they will feel torque on the knee and hip.  It’s the opposite of connectivity.

Fascia release with the soft ball under the foot will help the lateral side of the foot & ankle release (bow legged) and medial side of the foot & ankle (knock knees).  

Depending on the client’s alignment – you might need to release the tibialis anterior or strengthen the connection.  The goal is the foot to become more towards a position where the 3 arches of the feet can actively draw upward to support the fascia system in a more balanced way.

Where would we use these teaching techniques?

Closed Chain – Any weight bearing work 

Reformer / Mat / Chair / Tower 

Small Props: Rotation Disks

Light Weighted a Rotational Disks by Balance Body

My internal rotation moves from 10 degrees to zero – it is a bit of a forced position.  I should have stopped closer to 2 degrees.

My internal rotation can move up to -8 degrees if (normal – is up to 12-15 degrees).  Which is significantly better than the left.


As a young dancer I had ankle sprains on the left side a left hamstring tear and later 20s a meniscus tear (all left).  I pushed through the injuries and “ignored them” so I could dance — my nervous system didn’t like that at ALL, and now I won’t put my body in positions anymore.

Also my Q-angle is different from left to right, it sits more shallow.

I am hoping this blog gets you thinking about the relationship of the tibia to knee to hip and how you cue parallel in Pilates.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: