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Walking Problems in Children

Many kids exhibit flatfeet, toe walking, pigeon toes, bowlegs, and knock-knees in their first years of life. Eventhough some of these conditions may correct themselves without treatment as kids grow, they need to be assessed to determine the severity of the condition and if it falls within 'Normal' ranges. An assessment of these conditions will determine the severity and if intervention is needed.




Most babies are born with flatfeet and develop arches as they grow. But in some kids the arch never fully develops. Parents often first notice their child has what they describe as "weak ankles." The ankles appear to turn inward because of the way the feet are planted.


Flatfeet usually do not represent an impairment of any kind, and treatment is only consider treatment if it becomes painful or the children is well outside normal ranges. This is called excessive pronation and normally picked up by parents seeing their children's feet rolling in more than others. An assessment will determine the severity and if intervention is needed.


Toe Walking


Toe walking is common among toddlers as they learn to walk, especially during the second year of life. Generally, the tendency goes away by age 2, although it persists in some kids.

Intermittent toe walking should not be cause for concern, but kids who walk on their toes almost exclusively and continue to do so after age 2 should be evaluated by a Podiatrist.


Persistent toe walking in older kids or toe walking only on one leg might be linked to other conditions, which need to be assessed. Persistent toe walking in healthy children occasionally requires treatment like exercise and possibly orthotic or shoe modifications.




Bowleggedness (medical name: genu varum) is an exaggerated bending outward of the legs from the knees down that can be inherited. It's common in infants and, in many cases, corrects itself as a child grows. Bowleggedness beyond the age of 2 or bowleggedness that only occurs in one leg but not the other can be the sign of a other problems. An assessment will determine the severity and if intervention is needed.




Most kids show a moderate tendency toward knock-knees (medical name: genu valgum) between the ages of 3 and 6, as the body goes through a natural alignment shift. Treatment is almost never required as the legs typically straighten on their own. Severe knock-knees or knock-knees that are more pronounced on one side sometimes require assessment and treatment. An assessment will determine the severity and if intervention is needed.

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