Babies and toddlers are always running into things and tripping over themselves. After all, it wasn't that long ago that they first learned to stand on their own two feet. Generally, you can expect all of this clumsy, awkward movement works itself out and develops into a normal, confident gate. However, the human body doesn't always do what we expect it to do. Should you be concerned if your child doesn't seem to be growing out of that awkward walk? Read on.
While continued clumsy, or unnatural looking movement could be a sign of serious bone and muscular problems, and should be checked out by a physician, typically, the problem is simply that they are what some people might call "pigeon toed". Another word for this is "in-toed". "In-toeing", or "pigeon toeing", is when the feet turn inward towards the body during natural states of rest, or when walking or running.
Let's go over a few things that may be causing the problem, and what you can do about them.
If your child is under the age of two, the cause is likely to be metatarsus adductus. This is a condition in which the bones of the middle part of the foot deviate inward. It is not serious, and, in it's most severe cases, can be corrected easily with a pair of corrective shoes and/or proper stretching.
Internal tibial torsion may be another cause. This is where the lower leg bones (the tibias) are rotated inwards. Just like metatarsus adductus, this condition will usually resolve itself as your child ages and his/her muscles grow stronger. If the problem persists after about nine months of walking, then it is recommended that you see your doctor once more for reevaluation. However, it is more than likely that the problem will be corrected naturally by age three or four.
Lastly, another medical cause that could be the reason for your child's awkward gate is femoral anteversion, the inward turning of the upper leg bone (femur).Stretching and strengthening the leg muscle are again the recommendations for solving this problem. A great improvement should be seen around age eight. However, in some extreme cases, your child may require the use of a leg brace to straighten out the turned femur.
This blog post was provided by Stephanie Parker - our blog writer extraordinaire!