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Children’s feet: In-toeing and out-toeing

posted Nov 21, 2016, 3:10 PM by Rebecca Smith
During the first four years of life children’s feet go through monumental changes and can grow up to approximately
 three whole sizes larger in their first year. During this time it is very important to make sure that they are allowed to grow without any constriction, as even tightly fitted socks could be detrimental to their foot growth at this early stage.

Usually children will start to take their first steps around the 9-18 months phase. Similar to their first year, they will be going through regular growth phases. Continually checking their socks or shoes aren’t too small or restrictive will aid in this growth. Their bones will still be relatively soft and bones are still forming, so rather than being in shoes, it is actually better for coordination and strength to have them barefoot walking as much as possible. If they need to wear shoes; new soft lightweight shoes with breathable and flexible fabric would be best. Keeping an eye on sleeping and sitting patterns can help to reduce presentation of in or out-toeing; it is not recommended to allow a child to sit in a “W” formation as it can cause muscular imbalances.

During the ages of 2-4 children start to walk, run, climb stairs and it is important to note that children’s feet will in-toe or out-toe to a certain degree because of development of muscle and bone. However, if you are concerned that the in or out-toe is more excessive than it should be, it should be checked by a health professional as early intervention can be very effective to reduce symptoms for when they are older.

It is important to have your child checked if you notice:

·No improvement to in-toe or out-toe by 3-4 years

  • Complaints of pain
  • Limping 
  • One foot turning in or out more than the other 
  • Developmental delays 
  • Unusual gait that worsen as they grow instead of improvement