According to our Dallas podiatrist, it's very common for parents of toddlers to be concerned about the early stages of walking. Many children may show slight abnormalities when they begin taking their first steps. There are several problems that can occur with early walking that are normal and can resolve on their own. Some childhood foot problems may require treatment by a Dallas podiatrist if they do not resolve or get worse over time. Here's what to look out for when your baby learns to walk.
Common Issues When a Baby Learns to Walk
Each child is different both physically and emotionally, so some children walk earlier or later than others. When a child is ready to take those first steps, they may display issues with their gait, and this is normal and part of their development.
Some common issues seen when a baby learns to walk may include:
- Intoeing. When a child has feet that point inward instead of straight forward, this is known as intoeing, or being pigeon toed. When a child begins to walk, they may trip or limp. This condition commonly resolves by the time a child reaches the age of 10.
- Outtoeing. When a child’s feet and/or knees turn outward instead of straight forward, this is known as outtoeing, and a child may appear to “waddle.” Outtoeing usually resolves on its own and does not require treatment.
- Flat feet. Many babies begin walking with their feet flat to the floor, and this can result in a variation of gait. This is common until the arch of the foot begins to form and develop. As the arch develops over time and the foot muscles strengthen, the walking gait will usually change and become normal.
- Bow legs. When a child has bowed legs, the legs bend out at the knees in a bowed position. Children can walk with knees bowed out to support their weight. This condition usually resolves as the child continues to grow.
- Walking on tip toes. It is common for babies to take their first steps on their tip toes. Since babies have shorter Achilles tendons, they may move around on their tip toes as they learn to stand or walk. This issue usually corrects itself over time as the child begins to touch their heels to the floor. If it does not, it may indicate a more serious problem that should be evaluated by a podiatrist.
When to See Our Experienced Dallas Podiatrist
When your baby learns to walk, if your child is showing signs of an abnormal gait, they may be observed over several years by a podiatrist. Our Dallas podiatrist will examine the child’s feet and legs and monitor walking patterns and leg and feet development. Most gait abnormalities will resolve on their own without the need for any intervention.
If the problem does not resolve or gets worse, a Dallas podiatrist can recommend treatment options or surgery to fix the abnormality. In addition, if your child has an injury to the foot that is causing an abnormality with gait, contact a podiatrist for an evaluation.
If you are concerned about your baby’s walking development, contact our Dallas podiatrist for a consultation. To schedule an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller office, fill out our convenient contact form, or call us today.