Any changes in a child’s walk or movement might be frightening. You can’t help but speculate on what they will outgrow and what will need a trip to the doctor.
This is particularly true of children’s feetsince they develop and change so fast as infants go from crawling to walking and running and as toddlers transition from soft-soled shoes to the sporting gear and cleats of later childhood.
To put your mind at ease, I’ll go through two typical children’s foot and gait issues that, although initially normal, do need the attention of your podiatrist if they persist. Let’s look more closely.
Should My Child Walk with Their Toes Pointing Inward?
Your kid may have intoeing, a condition brought on by differences in the rotation of the thigh or lower leg bones, if their feet or knees point inward instead of straight forward as they walk or run.
Although intoeing is often not painful for your child, it is an awkward manner to move. You may also observe that your child W-sits on the floor, with his or her knees facing inward and feet splayed out to the sides.
Most children grow out of intoeing on their own. You may anticipate your child’s gait to normalize by the time he or she is 5 if the lower leg is the origin of the bone discrepancy. It normally takes until the age of 10 for symptoms to go away if the problem is in the thighs or hips.
But what if your 11-year-old child is still intoeing? Now is the moment to seek help, particularly if your child is in any discomfort. However, if your child is missing milestones, in pain, or unable to engage in school or athletic activities, speak with your doctor sooner.
Why Is There No Arch In My Child’s Foot?
Your child may have flat feet if his or her foot does not seem to have an arch while they are standing. Due to flexible joints in the foot, your child’s arch flattens down in this situation as he or she stands up. When there is no pressure on the feet or when your child stands on his or her tiptoes, the arches should return. If they don’t, the condition may be inflexible, which is a cause for concern.
Flat feet in children under the age of two are totally normal. In fact, a child’s arch may not completely develop until later. Therefore, you don’t need to be concerned about treatment till your child is in his or her teen years, if they have no other symptoms than a flat foot.
Unfortunately, many kids with flat feet do suffer from pain or discomfort, particularly after physical activity or even simply a long walk. The good news is that there are several very simple therapies I can provide to assist with this pain: using supportive shoes, orthotics, and, in some cases, physical therapy. We can eliminate the discomfort even before a proper arch forms.
Surgery can be required to help solve the issue if the pain doesn’t go away or the flat feet are stiff and rigid. But don’t worry; most kids with flat feet do not have this problem.
Now that you know what’s “normal” and what’s not when it comes to how your child’s feet look and move, I have one last thing to say. In addition to being a foot doctor, I am a parent. I am aware of how unsettling it may be to be unsure of what is happening with your child. Therefore, you are invited to visit my Houston podiatry clinic if you ever have a concern regarding your child’s foot. I would always prefer to reassure you that everything is all good than to have you postpone treatment while your child becomes more uncomfortable.