The foot that abducts is called an abductory twist

The Abductory Twist is a sign of gait that is commonly noticed by physical therapists. Lots of people when they are walking, just as the heel lifts up off the ground there is a rapid and small motion of the rearfoot medially (abduction). Many clinicians don't consider this to be of much significance as it is just a symptom of an underlying problem as opposed to a problem on its own.

There are numerous causes of this abductory twist. One is that the big toe or hallux joint must dorsiflex or bend just as the heel comes off the ground in order that we can move ahead. If that joint does not want to flex, then the foot will abduct to circumvent the block at the joint. Another common cause is overpronation of the foot. This is when the foot is rolling inwards at the ankle joint and the leg is externally rotating trying to roll the foot outwards. As soon as the heel comes off the ground the foot suddenly abducts due to the twisting.

A medial heel whip is another entity that does get confused with an abdutcory twist, however they are distinct. The twist occurs as soon as the heel lifts up off the ground and the whip is more of a circumduction of the entire foot as it lifts up of the ground. While the twist and whip are in the same course, they are completely different things and brought on by distinct problems.

The abductory twist does not need to be treated because it is not a problem on its own. It is a result of something and that something is the reason for the problem, so that needs treating rather than just the abductory twist. The therapy will have to be directed at either the reason for a block in movement at the big toe or the reason behind the overpronation of the foot. This means that the therapy usually takes on a variety of possible alternatives, so there isn't any one solution for this.