In the first few years of life, a child's normal walking pattern (gait) is different to that of an adult. A one-year old, for example, has a wide-based gait with quick, short steps. When a child is around three-years old their walking pattern starts to resemble that of an adult. Many parents become concerned that their child’s gait is abnormal, although very often it is age appropriate or corrects itself without any help. However, if you have any concerns about the way your child walks, contact KidsPhysio for a physiotherapy assessment. We will be able to provide reassurance, exercises or onward referral.

Tiptoe Walking

Many toddlers walk on their tip-toes, this usually improves by the time they start school.  If your child can stand with the feet flat, then the toe-walking habit will probably disappear on its own.
However, your child may need help if they have stiff ankles or feet (making it difficult for you to move the feet up or to put shoes on), rarely stand with the feet flat, or the toe-walking habit persists. 
Kidsphysio may be able to provide exercises to help your child’s muscle strength or joint mobility to enable them to walk with a good heel contact.

Knock Knees (Genu Valgum)

A child who stands with their knees touching but their ankles apart is said to have knock-knees. During childhood, knock-knees are a part of normal growth and development. Knock-knees usually become apparent when a child is two to three years old and may increase in severity until about age four. Concerns only really arise if the condition is first noticed after the child is six years old or if one leg is more affected than the other.

Knock knees may appear to be present in children who have flat feet or who are overweight or are weak or tight around the hips. Kidsphysio can assess your child and determine whether a physiotherapy programme of strengthening and stretching exercises or some foot orthotics (insoles) will help to improve your child’s posture.

Intoeing (Pigeon Toes)

If a child has an in-toeing gait, it means that their feet turn inward instead of pointing straight ahead when standing, walking or running. Intoeing is seen in children of different ages for different reasons. The problem may be due to the way the bones are formed or the way the muscles in the hips work and usually corrects, without treatment, as a child grows older.

Intoeing usually does not cause pain or interfere with the way your child learns to walk. Although severe intoeing can cause young children to stumble or trip.
In the great majority of children under age eight, intoeing will correct by itself. However, if you have any concerns contact KidsPhysio. Your child may benefit from a physiotherapy assessment and exercises or reassurance to put your mind at rest.

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