Once they start pulling themselves up to stand, it’s just a matter of time before they are waddling away from you. It happens almost in the blink of an eye! Then the parent instinct kicks in and all you want to do is help them practice walking. However, you may start to worry about the way they walk. Is that normal? Will they grow out of it?
We want to keep your worries at bay. The following are common walking issues you may encounter with your toddler. Not to worry too much though, since most are normal in the first stages of learning to walk.
- Flat foot strike or Tip Toeing: Most babies are born with no arch, so when they first learn to walk, their feet will land on flat feet instead of with the usual heel-to-toe strike. Other babies may begin to walk on their tiptoes because their Achilles tendons are shorter from birth. As they walk, strengthen their feet, and stretch them, arches will begin to form, tendons will stretch out, and their gait will change.
- Intoeing: Your toddlers may exhibit intoeing, where toes point inward or they land on the arch of the feet, curving the legs inward. This is commonly as “pigeon toeing”. Children may grow out of it as their bones continue to develop and they get stronger. In severe cases of bone deformity or pain, children may need corrective inserts or shoes.
- Knock Knees: This is a developmental issue where the legs grow in a way that has knees close together, but ankles that do not touch when standing straight up. It can resolve on its own between ages 5-7 and should not cause pain or issues for running or playing. If you are worried about this condition, our podiatrist can assess your toddler.
- Bowlegs: Babies are born with a slight bowleg structure. This can become more apparent as children begin to walk and bear weight, making the bowlegs more obvious. As they become stronger in their walking, the legs should straighten out to properly support its weight.
- Curly Toes: Your toddler’s toes may seem to curl toward the big toes or downward with the toenail facing the ground. This happens due to deformity in the tendons or bone structure. While there is usually no pain in the toes, irregular toenail growth may be the culprit of pain. Taping the toes straight may help, but some require further treatment.
Note: If any of these issues seem extreme, you should come see our board-certified podiatrist, Dr. Carl Ingrassia. In particular, for tiptoeing children, if your child never puts their feet down flat, it may indicate a more severe issue and a doctor needs to be seen. For further questions about these issues, make an appointment with us at Fords Foot and Ankle Care by calling (732) 738-4441. We are located in Fords, NJ, and are happy to take care of you and your family.