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Out-toeing in Children

child out toeing

Out-toeing is the externally rotated appearance (when the feet point outwards) of a child’s feet when they walk. Out-toeing is much less common than in-toeing and unlike in-toeing, out-toeing may lead to pain and disability as the child grows into adulthood. In many cases the condition does not prove to be a problem however leg muscle tiredness and avoidance of walking and standing may result.

This complaint is secondary to external rotation of the hip, lower leg or foot caused from a persistent foetal position.

By age 2, most kids will walk with their toes pointed slightly outward and this is considered a normal part of development. The child’s body usually corrects the condition by itself before the age of ten.

Signs and symptoms include muscular aches and pains, leg pains, knee pains (patellofemoral pain), groin pains/tightness, excess pronation of the feet, avoidance of walking and standing and a typical ‘duck walk’ gait.

It is important that the condition be treated early as it can cause pain and long-term disability as the child grows older, due to the pressure placed on the joints around the feet, hips, and legs.

At Mint Foot Care Podiatry, we diagnose this condition by taking a comprehensive history, performing a biomechanical assessment and video gait analysis.

Based on the findings a combination of treatment options may be prescribed including:

  • Footwear recommendations.
  • Custom orthotics with in-toe gait plates.
  • Stretching and strengthening exercises for affected muscles and ligaments.

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