As toddlers are learning to walk, their gait may be characterized as duck-footed, or out-toeing. This happens when they walk with their toes pointing outward rather than forward. In many children, this way of walking is temporary. A child will often outgrow this by age six to eight years of age. However, sometimes it can persist into adolescence, or even adulthood, and can lead to more serious complications. Out-toeing is a type of torsional deformity and usually occurs when one of the leg's two longest bones (the tibia, located between the knee and ankle, and the femur, located between the hip and knee) turn towards the outside of the leg, causing the foot to jut out. This condition can occur in one or both legs. Most often, the child does not experience pain or discomfort with this condition, and it does not affect their mobility. Parents might see that their kid's shoes wear out or have more obvious scuff marks on the outer edges of the shoes if the child is duck-footed. Causes of out-toeing include genetics, fetal position of the legs in the uterus prior to birth, the resting position of the legs during infancy, and being flat-footed. Rarer reasons for this condition are congenital bone deformity or a hip condition, called slipped capital femoral epiphysis, that causes the ball at the top of the femur to slip backwards. If you are concerned about your child's gait or you notice that they are experiencing pain, imbalance, or instability when walking, see a podiatrist who can alleviate your concerns or provide treatment options to consider.
The health of a child's feet is vital to their overall well-being. If you have any questions regarding foot health, contact one of our podiatrists of Arbor - Ypsi Foot & Ankle Centers. Our doctors can provide the care you need to keep you pain-free and on your feet.
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At Arbor - Ypsi Foot & Ankle Centers in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we identify your unique foot and ankle needs and develop a highly effective and individualized treatment plan to resolve them. Our experts will work relentlessly to make you feel better and put your best foot forward.