When your child starts to walk, it is natural to feel excitement and joy (and a little bit of dread, too, when you think about how much trouble they can get into). But sometimes, that feeling of joy is replaced by concern if you notice that your little one’s feet seem to point outwards at an unusual angle.

The technical name for this is femoral retroversion, though it is commonly called out-toeing. If a child’s feet continue to point outward, it will be more challenging for them to stand, and they will develop an unusual gait.

Whether caused by an awkward position in the womb, abnormal growth early in life, or neurological issues, out-toeing should be addressed early. If it is allowed to persist, the awkward position of the feet will put extra pressure on joints in the hips, legs, and feet, which can lead to ongoing issues over time.

When Do You Need a Doctor to Intervene?

The good news is that for most children, out-toeing tends to resolve itself before their third birthday. This is particularly true when the cause is either positioning in the womb or bones growing at different rates. However, in some cases, out-toeing requires treatment. That treatment may take the form of custom orthotics and physiotherapy designed to encourage the feet to move into a better position. If those treatments are not successful, your doctor may recommend surgery. The goal of the surgery would be to adjust or alter the bone that is responsible for the out-toeing. Correction for out-toeing should be completed before a child turns 10 to avoid long-term issues.

Do You Have Questions About the Way Your Child Is Walking?

At InStride Carolina Podiatry Group, we understand that a milestone like a child’s first steps can quickly become a source of concern if it appears the child is out-toeing or has other issues related to their feet or ankles. Our team can explain what’s happening, the possible causes, and the best course of action to move toward correction of the problem. Contact us today so we can put your mind at ease.

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