With your little one growing and changing so quickly it can be hard to know what is ‘normal’ and what is not when it comes to walking. Keeping in mind of course there is always a wide range of ‘normal’ and each child is different in the way they grow and develop.
“Walking at a super early age is NOT a good thing. You need to crawl before you can walk. Morale of the story, do not force your child to walk before they are ready”.
A child should typically transition from crawling to walking between 10-18 months of age. Just because a little one starts to walk at the end of that age range does not mean there is anything wrong. There are a variety of reasons some toddlers learn to walk later than others one of them being that the child just might not be interested in walking.
Kate’s (one of the amazing Podiatrists here at Border Podiatry Centre) little boy is a great example of this. He showed no interest in walking at all until at 15 months of age. He pulled himself up one day and took his first steps. It was always felt it was because he knew crawling was the fastest way to get around at the time! Now at age 5 there’s still no slowing him down and his balance and coordination are excellent.
When a toddler first begins to walk they will be quite wobbly, have a wide base of gait, have very flat feet and often look bow-legged. This is all normal.
The wide base of gait will remain until they build up their muscle strength and improve their balance. Slowly you should notice that the wide-legged gait pattern and bow legs slowly disappear.
By the age of two they should look ‘straight’ as they walk and run.
Between the ages of 2-4 there are changes happening in a child’s hips that will cause them to look knock-kneed as they stand and walk. They will also still look flat footed. This is normal too.
A child doesn’t develop the arches in their feet until they are 4/5 years of age. The knock-kneed position should slowly correct itself so that by the time a child is 5 years of age once again their legs look straight when you look at them front on or from behind.
As stated earlier there are ranges of normal that most children fall into, although occasionally we do see children that fall outside of these ranges.
Some of the red flags to seek professional help are listed below.
If your child is starting to walk and you notice
• they are significantly in toeing or out toeing,
• if they have feet that just look far too flat and it seems to slow them down,
• if they trip frequently,
• if they complain about walking and want to be carried all the time
• or if you notice they have shoes that always are scuffed on the toes
…these are just some of the reason’s you should book into see a podiatrist.
Often we can suggest little changes you can make that will encourage your child to walk and move more efficiently. Catching and addressing issues with walking and movement early will usually mean less intervention and management later and can prevent an assortment of other issues down the track.
At Border Podiatry Centre we know how important little feet are and how looking after little feet now can lead to a lifetime of good foot health.
We LOVE little feet and the little people attached to them. If you have any concerns about your child’s movement, milestones or development call us any time to book an appointment.