Although most children are assessed from birth for any major deformities, most abnormalities do not become apparent until the child begins weight bearing and/or walking. Most children will start walking whenever they are ready, which varies between 9 and 18 months old. Our podiatrists do not recommend baby walkers to encourage your child to start walking sooner as these baby walkers have been known to actually cause abnormal walking patterns in children.
The following are valid concerns which should prompt a visit to a podiatrist for further assessment:
1. If your child appears to be clumsy, tripping a lot
2. Complaining of pain or discomfort outside the norm
3. Feeling tired easily or refuses to participate in physical activities
4. If your child tends to walk on their tip toes.
We will also be interested in your child’s shoes as they play a major role in the development of their feet and ankles. Shoes should not restrict the movement of the foot or ankle and should bend in all the right places. At home, it is usually better for them to go bare foot. This will improve their co-ordination and strength because they will be allowed to adapt to the different types of surfaces.
Sometimes parents have been advised that the child will grow out of most walking problems. However, some may not and it is well documented that for most conditions early treatment results in better outcomes.
If your instincts lead you to suspect that there is something ‘not right’, then a podiatrist can help by conducting a thorough assessment.
Why make them suffer with ongoing pain if treatment may be possible?