Who has witnessed a toddler’s bow-legged waddle and not found it totally adorable?! Toddlers should be expected to grow out of their cute and awkward gait in due time. Seek the professional advice of Cuyahoga County foot doctors Craig B. Frey, DPM and Megan L. Oltmann, DPM, our expert podiatrists at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland, if any of these four issues that affect brand new walkers go on too long:
- Bowed legs. We say that legs are bowed when the child put his or her feet together, and there is a significant space between the two lower legs and the ankles. You may even be able to see one or both legs curving outward. Most children under the age of two will have bowed legs to some extent. If your child hasn’t outgrown it by the age of two or three, or if you notice one leg or ankle curves out much more than the other, check in with Dr. Frey or Dr. Oltmann to rule out any underlying structural issues.
- In-toeing and Out-toeing. When your son or daughter’s toes point inward or outward, you’ll know it’s becoming a problem if it’s hard to fit them with shoes, if they have difficulty walking, if they tend to trip a lot, or if they tell you that their feet hurt.
- Flat Feet (also called Flatfoot). Babies’ feet look flat because they are! At first, those plump appendages have fatty areas where the arch should be. When the baby grows and the fat goes away, you’ll begin to see an arch form. If not, it may not be cause for alarm: some people are just genetically destined to have flat feet, and flat feet don’t always cause pain or problems. But ask our podiatrists to take a look, since structural problems in the feet can lead to problems with other body parts later in life.
- Toe-walking. A lot of babies will walk on their toes for a time, and it’s okay up to about age three. Beyond that, we would recommend bringing your child in for an evaluation. As with bowed legs, in-teoing, out-toeing, and flat feet, your child’s feet may have a structural abnormality, but a muscular or neurological disorder is also a possibility.
If you notice continual and prolonged awkwardness or clumsiness, or if your child can’t keep up with her playmates, take advantage of individualized treatment at our office in the great community of Solon. Our doctors are experts in the field of pediatric podiatric care. Make an appointment online, or call us with your pediatric concerns at (440) 903-1041.