How to know your child is walking correctly

For most, walking is just an everyday part of life that we don’t really think about much. We get out of bed and just start walking, whether it’s to the bathroom, the coffee machine or to the bus stop. However, for our children – like in all areas of their development – it is important that we set them on the right track from an early age in relation to walking correctly as well.

Most children start walking between the age of 8 months and 18 months old. This varies from child-to-child of course. Some children might take their first steps with someone holding their hands at the age of 9 months; others may stand alone and sidestep around a coffee table at 12 months; or they may even take uneven steps or walk by pushing carts and trolleys by 15 months of age.

By around 18 months of age, your child might be walking comfortably with their legs close together. All these stages are part of their natural progression and shouldn’t be forced.

Everyone walks differently

There are a few different ways in which your child may walk as they grow. These are:

  • Pigeon toe or in-toeing – Where one or both feet/knees turn in while your child is walking. This generally resolves somewhere around 2-3 years of age.
  • Out-toeing – Where one or both feet turn out when your child is walking. Your child should outgrow this. Out-toeing typically disappears around 5 years of age.
  • Toe-walking – Where your child starts walking on their toes as soon as soon as they start to walk. This should resolve somewhere around 2-3 years of age.

If you notice your child is still walking in one of the ways mentioned above beyond the average age, speak to one of our physiotherapists, podiatrists, paediatricians, or your local GP for advice.

Signs and symptoms to look out for

There are some other signs to look out for as your child progresses with their walking. Keep an eye out for the signs mentioned below, and speak to one of our physiotherapists, podiatrists, paediatricians, or your local GP if you notice your child:

  • hasn’t yet started walking by 18 months
  • is displaying signs of severe pigeon toe or out-toeing
  • has pigeon toe or out-toeing which is getting worse
  • has pigeon toe or out-toeing that’s more pronounced on one leg compared to the other
  • trips or falls a lot
  • has walking issues that come on suddenly or as a result of a fall
  • has toe walking that hasn’t resolved by the age of approximately three years
  • can’t bear weight on either leg
  • complains of hip or knee pain, particularly while running or playing sports.

Our friendly team of physiotherapists, podiatrists and paediatricians is here to help if you have noticed any of the above issues or have other concerns. Please call the team at any one of our 9 locations throughout Adelaide, and they will be happy to assist you.

For a little more information, you can directly reach out to us here

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