Most kids don’t go straight from crawling to running marathons in a day. It takes time to develop the strength, the stability, and the coordination to develop a smooth, adult-like gait. Those first few unsure steps often feature a lot of waddling, lurching, outstretched arms, and perhaps the occasional topple!
Compared to an older child or an adult, young children just learning to walk tend to take a much wider stance and walk with legs far apart, as a way to provide the maximum amount of balance. There is often a lot of side-to-side movement, too. All of this is very normal, and with practice, your child will learn a more confident stride.
However, there may be particular walking styles that cause parents some additional concern. These may include:
Walking with toes pointed inward due to rotation in the feet, shins, or thighs (in-toeing, or pigeon toes)
Walking with toes point outward due to rotation in the feet, shins, or thighs (out-toeing)
Walking with knees bowed outwards (bow legs)
Walking with knees bent inward (knock knees)
Walking on tiptoes all the time
Any other signs of discomfort, pain, or restriction
Now, fortunately, many of these conditions don’t necessarily mean your child needs treatment. For example, conditions like in-toeing and out-toeing tend to correct themselves over time without any intervention from parents or doctors.
However, if you do notice any of these unusual walking styles—especially if they’re getting worse over time, or displaying signs of pain—you should take your son or daughter to an experienced children’s foot doctor such as Sanjay Patel.
Again, we urge you not to worry. Each child is unique, and often a bit of a funny waddling in the gait is simply normal development. That said, if there is a more serious problem that needs to be addressed, such as a rigid flatfoot or neurological condition, it is always best to catch it as early as possible. And even if no treatment is needed, you still get the peace of mind knowing that your little one is on track to grow up healthy, and that our office has established a point of reference from which to make judgments or comparisons later if necessary.
To schedule an appointment for your little one in either Milford or Hamden, please give us a call today at (203) 876-7736.