External rotation gear


Away gear, toe out gear, Charlie Chaplin gear


The external rotation gait describes the gait pattern in which the tips of the feet deviate outwards on an (imaginary) straight line when walking, which is why the external rotation gait is also called the outward or toe external gait. The external rotational gait is illustrated and illustrated in an exaggerated way by the typical Charlie-Chaplin gait. In contrast to the so-called internal rotational gait, the external rotational gait occurs less frequently.

Gait pattern

The name-giving main characteristic of the external rotation is the outward deviation of the foot tips. In the physiological gait pattern, the feet are placed approximately parallel to each other and the tips of the feet point straight forward with only slight deviation. In contrast to this, the tips of the feet point outwards during external rotation, which causes a waddling gait pattern. As a result, the foot does not roll over the entire sole of the foot, as is normally the case, but the rolling motion takes place over its inner edge. This can easily be seen on the shoes, as the sole of the shoe is mainly worn on the inside.


A very common cause of external rotation is a malposition of the lower extremity, in which the legs are twisted outwards in the overall picture. Mostly these are malpositions in the area of the foot or lower leg. However, malalignments of the thigh or hip can also lead to an external rotation gait.

In general, these malpositions can either be present from birth or be acquired in the course of life. Causes for acquired orthopaedic malpositions are, for example, bone fractures that have not healed as desired. External rotation can also be a specific symptom of the so-called juvenile femoral head loosening (epiphysiolysis capitis femoris).

In children during the growth phase, an external rotation course may also occur for a limited period of time only, which is caused by uneven bone growth and disappears on its own once longitudinal growth is complete. Other and rare causes of an external rotation gait are underlying neurological diseases that can result from accompanying muscle paralysis in an external rotation gait. Habit is another cause for an external rotation gait.

In this way, one can get into the habit of a certain gait pattern and adopt it without a defective position of the leg or any other underlying disease. External rotation is more common in people who are very tall and heavy and therefore place a high load on the foot. Another risk group in which the external rotation gait occurs more frequently are persons with a flat foot in their medical history.