Pigeon toes, flat feet, knocked knees - does my child have feet problems?
By Kidspot Team |
Foot problems

When kids start walking they often appear uncoordinated and off-balance. Once they get the hang of being vertical, the muscles and ligaments in their legs and feet get stronger and work more effectively and they are off and running and before you know it!

Sometimes, however, kids experience problems with their legs and feet, which make mastering the art of walking a little more difficult.

Flat feet

Most people have an arch in the soul of their feet between their big toe and heel. This part of the foot does not touch the ground unless you are flat footed. Babies and children under the age of 2 usually have flat feet, but by the time they are 5 years old, arches will have formed. While some people remain flat footed for their entire lives, it is usually with no adverse effects, although foot and leg pain can be caused by flat feet.

Pigeon toes

When one or both feet turn inward, a child is said to be pigeon-toed (medically, this condition is called 'intoeing'). This is commonly seen in toddlers who are learning to walk and whose balance and posture has not yet developed properly. By 5 years of age this problem has usually fixed itself. Treatment for intoeing is rarely recommended with the special shoes and braces of the past not demonstrating any particular success in fixing the condition.

Bow legs

If a child stands up straight with her feet and ankles touching, but her knees are wide apart, she probably has bow legs. This is something that usually affects very young children and is a result of being curled up in the womb for 9 months! Once your child begins to walk, her limbs begin to straighten out and by the time she hits 3 years old, the condition usually no longer exists.

Knock knees

This problem comes about when the knees touch but the ankles remain wide apart. Affecting kids mainly between the ages of 3 and 5 years old, this issue usually resolves by the time the child is 7 years old.

What if the problem doesn’t go away?

In most cases these common foot and leg problems do not require any medical intervention. If they persist into mid-late childhood, or if they have been caused by injury or infection, then your child might need to see a podiatrist to help with correct foot development.

Podiatrists may use a series of exercises to help treat a problem or some kind of brace or specially designed shoes. In older children, the use of orthotics might be necessary. Orthotics are custom-made shoe inserts which help to relieve pain or discomfort. In rare cases, surgery may be required to fix a problem.

Podiatrists can also treat other foot conditions in children such as:

  • Ingrown toenails
  • Foot injuries
  • Foot pain
  • Skin problems
  • Limping
  • Oddly shaped toes

How important are shoes?

A very young child learning to walk does not need to wear shoes. In fact, wearing ill-fitting shoes at this age is not good for growing feet. Going barefoot helps young children to learn balance and coordination. Shoes only become necessary after your child has been walking for a few months. It’s important to remember that children’s shoes should always:

  • Be firm but not too tight
  • Have good support to avoid slipping inside the shoe
  • Have enough toe room to grow into but not so much that she can trip over the end of the shoe
  • Have a flexible sole to allow ease of movement.
  • Be professionally fitted wherever possible

Related feet articles

This article was written by Jo Harris for Kidspot, New Zealand's family health resource. Sources include Better Health Channel and The Australian Podiatry Association.

Connect with Kidspot:
 

101+ cool school ideas

  1. Fundraising ideas
  2. Lunch snacks from scratch
  3. Healthy lunch box recipes they'll eat
  4. Sanity savers
  5. 10 things teachers wish you knew
  6. Celebrity chef lunch box ideas
  7. School book covers
  8. All school supplies
  9. Head lice solutions
  10. 5 ways to keep school kids organised
  11. Tools for back to school
  12. Sandwich-free lunch box ideas
  13. The on time school morning routine
  14. The school shoe checklist
  15. Breakfast and school
  16. How to buy a perfect school bag
  17. Savoury lunch box snacks
  18. Kids' breakfast ideas
  19. 10 tips for buying school shoes
  20. Is your child gifted and talented?
  21. Communicating problems to school
  22. Best school breakfast recipes
  23. Goal setting for the new school year
  24. Homework tips
  25. Preparing for the first day of school
  26. Teach your child to tie shoe laces
  27. Fun spelling games
  28. Making friends at school
  29. The great homework debate
  30. School readiness
  31. Muesli bars and lunch box snacks
  32. Peer pressure at school
  33. 12 tips for a better school year
  34. Vegetarian lunch box ideas
  35. Best breakfast ideas
  36. Care for school shoes so they last
  37. Teasing vs bullying
  38. Cures for school clutter
  39. Healthy lunch box ideas
  40. Breakfast nutrition
  41. Cost of private tuition
  42. Could my child have ADHD?
  43. Organising home life for school
  44. Preparing for school
  45. Lunch box safety
  46. The importance of breakfast
  47. Maths flash cards
  48. Solving school problems
  49. Back to school organisation
  50. When should my child start school
  51. Nutritious lunch boxes
  52. Breakfast and school
  53. Caring for kids feet
  54. Helping your child to make friends at school
  55. Starting high school
  56. Find a sport for your child
  57. Back to school routines
  58. School bullying solutions
  59. Healthy food pyramid
  60. All about school shoes
  61. Tempting fussy eaters
  62. Your child's school teacher
  63. Back to school accessories
  64. Top breakfast ideas
  65. Does my child have feet problems?
  66. Secrets of buying back to school supplies
  67. The 6-point school shoe check
  68. Inspired lunch box ideas
  69. Labels and bag tags
  70. Lacing techniques for school shoes
  71. All breakfast recipes
  72. Tips for packed lunches
  73. School communication
  74. Easy organisation tips
  75. 10 ways to save on back-to-school
  76. Healthy start
  77. School and separation anxiety
  78. Making your own bread for school lunches
  79. 5 tips for buying a school bag
  80. Feeding school-aged children
  81. When independent reading begins
  82. Lunch boxes
  83. Understanding school life
  84. School clutter solutions
  85. 5 tips for buying a school bag
  86. Fibre facts
  87. Is your child ready to start school
  88. Back to school supplies
  89. Best back to school lunch box recipes
  90. Improve your child's school success
  91. 9 tips to help kids prepare for tests
  92. Healthy snack ideas
  93. Saving money on schooling
  94. Tips for fussy eaters
  95. Best school bags
  96. Fitting school shoes
  97. School lunches
  98. School term and holiday calendar
  99. Free printable name and book labels
  100. Top technology for school
  101. School shoe size guide
  102. All about breakfast
  103. Healthy lunchbox ideas
  104. Organising school life
  105. Hungry minds
  106. 10 top lunch box ideas
  107. Learning to read and write

CATCH UP

what's new on kidspot