At Ready Steady Therapy we frequently see a variety of walking patterns. Problems with walking often occurs in early childhood when a baby learns to walk and then as they grow and develop. Here are some of the walking problems we see frequently:
In general, most of the children would start walking on their own at around 12 months old. If your child hasn’t begun walking by 18 months, their gross motor skills should be assessed by our team.
We’re skilled at creating age-appropriate play activities to help your child to learn to walk on their own through building up their strength, balance, endurance and flexibility.
When young children first learn how to walk on their own, it is common for them to fall or trip over but these falls and trips should reduce with time as they become more stable on their feet. If your child consistently falls or trips and appears to fall more frequently than usual when compared with their peers of similar age, you may like to have your child assessed by a Physiotherapist to ensure there is no underlying condition causing them to fall.
Our feet point straight ahead or slightly outward when we stand or walk. When our feet point inward when standing and walking, it is called in-toeing, or sometimes, known as ‘pigeon-toe’. Or the opposite occurs, if our feet point excessively outward when we stand or walk, it is called out-toeing, like the famous actor, Charles Chaplin.
It can be common for young children to have an in-toeing gait in early childhood up to around 7 years of age and this is particularly more common in girls than boys.
We would recommend an assessment with a paediatric physiotherapist if:
- Your child is persistently standing or walking with their feet turned inwards and it is affecting their physical skills
- There has been no improvement to your child’s in-toeing as they are getting older
- You notice your child to be turned in on one side more than the other
- Your child reports pain in their legs
- Your child’s legs or feet are stiff and this does not improve over time
Young children could have bowlegs, i.e., when the child stands with their feet and ankles together, their knees stay apart. This is especially obvious when the child starts to walk on their own. On the other hand, when the child stands with their knees together, their feet and ankles stay apart. This is known as knocked knees.
We all have an arch on the inside of our feet, running from the end of your heel to you toe pads. When children have flat feet this arch of the foot does not appear when they stand. The arches in children’s feet generally develop by the age of 5 years old. Some children may have flattening of their feet past the age of 5 if they have hypermobility or low muscle tone. Most often having flat feet is a normal variant but if your child does have flat feet and they are complaining of pain in their feet or they are having problems completing physical skills or maintaining balance then a review with a paediatric physio would be recommended.
While most of these orthopaedic conditions may resolve with time, our assessment can rule out any underlying condition causing these problems and give you peace of mind. You can also check out our blog posts on some common bony problems in young children and how to choose shoes for young children for some tips and tricks at improving their walking.
We can help you with all the above and many more conditions. There are no silly questions, your child’s health is our number one priority and any concern you have should be checked by a professional paediatric physiotherapist.