Help my toddler’s feet looks odd and he walks funny!

Recently I have had several babies and toddlers come into clinic with parents concerned about their child’s feet and how their child is walking. Every child is different and we need to assess each child individually to determine what is the best approach to correcting their foot position in order to prevent secondary bony deformities and long-term impact on their foot, knee and hip development. What bothers me the most when I meet these lovely families is the common complaint that parents have about how hard they have tried to seek help for their child without success over a period of time. It is very frustrating that families have difficulty convincing GPs and even Specialists that perhaps something can be done to help their child. From my experience there is probably little we can do to reach out GPs and Specialists, but we can certainly empower parents and families by letting them know that there are options available to help their child, and that they do not need a referral to see a Paediatric Physiotherapist.

8 weeks ago we met this lovely little toddler and his parents. 

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23 month old with turned out feet

This toddler’s mum was worried from the time he started walking at 13 months old that his feet were very turned out and his left foot had a bend in the midfoot. She consulted several GPs, Paediatricians and Orthopaedic Specialists on several occasions over a 10-month period as she was very concerned about her child’s feet. They all told her that it will get better over time and nothing can be done except to put him in good shoes. She noticed that his feet didn’t get better after 10 months and in fact, she was noticing that they were getting worse, despite buying supportive shoes for her child.

She eventually found a GP who referred her to My Favourite Physio for Paediatric Physiotherapy and we met her little boy at 23 months old. Normal feet should be forward facing and with a straight outside border and not with the foot turned out and inside ankle rolling inwards. When photos are taken from the back of the legs, a normal foot should only have the little toe and maybe the fourth toe visible. This toddler’s second toe could be seen from the back on the right leg and his big toe could be seen from the back on his left leg. His foot bone in the midfoot was collapsed and starting to form abnormally. Fortunately his foot was still correctible.

We recommended serial casting to correct his foot position and after 6 weeks of serial casting his feet have improved significantly.

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feet after 6 weeks of serial casting

Photos taken from the back of legs, only his little toe can be seen on both his feet. His mum is extremely pleased at his progress in a matter of weeks. We have planned for customized orthotics to be made to ensure that his feet are supported in the corrected position so that the feet bone grow in the correct alignment over the next few years until he is 5 years old.

On hindsight, this toddler would have benefitted from having his feet treated earlier as it is less discomfort and disruption to the child’s routine as a younger infant than as a toddler, as well as the prevention of bony deformation and ligamentous changes over time and as he started walking on his feet. Earlier intervention would have also meant his parents would not have endured unnecessary distress for the past 10 months.

Are you worried about your child’s feet? Don’t put up with another day of worry! Ring us on (02) 9790 4233 today to make an appointment to see our Paediatric Physiotherapist for the best treatment options to correct your child’s feet.