Common Leg and Foot Problems in Children
Published on 09 November 2011
Pigeon Toes (in-toeing)
Some kids especially those under three years old walk with their toes pointing in. Sometimes called pigeon-toed ? these children are as mobile as the other kids and it does not stop them from walking and running around. This may be caused by a twist in one of the leg bones by the way the baby lay in the womb, while the bones were still soft. The bone slowly untwists with new straight growth. Usually the twist is gone by school age.
This is why you rarely see pigeon-toed adults!
Parents often only notice their child?s bow legs when he starts to walk. Bow legs are common in childhood and are a normal part of development. The curve usually straightens as he grows, but if the bowing is severe, or is on one side only, or if it persists beyond age six, have him checked out by a doctor. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to re-align the legs. Rarely is this deformity caused by rickets, a bone disease.
A standing child whose knees touch but ankles do not, is usually said to have knock-knees. Many children between the ages of three and seven have knock-knees. This is when they are standing, their knees touch but ankles do not. It may come about as a result of a stage of development in early childhood when the inside of the knee tends to grow faster than the outside. However, in time as the child grows, the legs eventually become normal. This condition usually corrects itself without treatment by the time the child is about seven years old.
Overweight children are most likely to develop knock-knees, because their developing bones and joints have trouble supporting their weight and they tend to lean inward.
Flat feet do not have a normal arch. When your child is standing, the whole foot touches the ground. Before the age of three, almost all children have flat feet. The arch at the inside of the foot does not begin to develop until about three years of age and are fully formed by the child is about six years old. In some cases, however, the ligaments and muscles are weak for unknown reasons, and the feet remain flat.
Flat feet should not affect a person?s mobility although their feet may ache while walking or standing. However, if your child?s flat feet is causing him pain, have him see an orthopaedic doctor. Depending on the cause, he may recommend a variety of treatments. In some cases, wearing in-soles in the shoes can alleviate the pain. In extreme cases, surgery may help and this will only be done only after the child has stopped growing, which is after puberty.