Children and Walking Problems

Gait Disturbances

Only when your child begins to walk will you have the opportunity to observe his or her gait. Sometimes 

there is a noticeable problem from the start and other times it won’t be recognized until later. Observe 

your child’s walking (gait) closely and you will see he will tend to turn his feet out slightly to maintain his 

balance especially early on.

In Toeing

When your child turns his feet inward as he walks we describe it as an “in toed” gait. In toed gait can be 

due to a number of reasons. It may be the actual foot is slightly curved in shape and it appears as an in 

toeing. Or it may be there are tight hip ligaments that are rotating the leg internally giving the in toeing 

appearance. Another condition called “internal tibial torsion” occurs when the lower leg bone (tibia) is 

rotated inward, forcing the foot inward with it. Each of these cases have specific treatments to address 

these conditions and when properly addressed, the leg and foot can be brought in to a better alignment 

which can help prevent tripping or other problems that can occur later in the feet as they grow.

Out toeing

Just the opposite of in toeing, out toeing is seen as the outward position of the feet while standing and 

walking and can be due to tight external hip ligaments, or excessively flat feet.

Toe walking

A somewhat common gait in younger children is toewalking where the child literally does not put their 

heels on the floor as they walk. What starts out as a prancing gait, may become habit if the child does 

not begin placing the heels down on the ground after several months. In severe cases, casting is 

performed to stretch the heel cords or surgery to lengthen them if they are short since birth.

 Each of these gait abnormalities require examination and assessment by a podiatrist to ascertain the 

degree of the deformity, it’s cause, and possible treatment options. Some conditions may outgrow with 

time, however others leave the foot  in a poor alignment which may cause other foot deformities later 

in life. Early treatment is the key here.

If you think your child might be suffering from flat feet, contact Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists to schedule an appointment at 704-861-0425.

Gaston Foot & Ankle Specialists

251 Wilmot Drive
Gastonia, NC 28054