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Inward Walking

What is inward walking?

Inward walking is described as a postural problem that leads a child to walk with his foot and/or knees pointing inside. When a child first starts to walk, it is normal to notice some inward walking, but this should quickly subside by the age of 3 years old.

Inward walking is problematic if it is only on one side, if your child limps or complains of pain or if it prevents your child from practicing a sport. It is very important to consult a health professional if your child’s inward walking does not subside or gets worse.

Inward walking can create severe long term problems in your child’s posture. These problems can affect your child’s feet, ankle, knee and hip function later on.

What causes inward walking?

Many things can cause your child to walk inward. The problem can be a hip alignment, a knee alignment or a foot deformity. Certain sitting positions at home can also make the problem worse. It is essential to first consult a health professional in order to find out where the problem is coming from.

How to treat inward walking?

Treatments for inward walking vary depending on where the problem comes from.

1. Finding the source of the problem

With an evaluation of your child’s posture, walking and running gait, your podiatrist can determine what misalignment is causing your child’s inward walking. The problem can come from your child’s hips, knees or feet.

2. Supporting your child’s feet

Inward walking can either come from a foot deformity or a foot deformity can develop because of inward walking. In both cases, your podiatrist can prescribe appropriate foot support like custom-made plantar orthotics to help the problem.

3. Strengthening your child’s posture

Inward walking is a postural problem that is associated with weak muscles. Your podiatrist will not only give you advice on how to prevent this postural problem from getting worse but will also prescribe adapted exercises to strengthen weak muscles.

How to treat inward walking at home?

The best thing to do at home is to develop good habits to prevent the problem from getting worse while waiting for your podiatric consultation.

Correct sitting positions

Encourage your child to sit with the legs in front. Legs can be extended or crossed in front. Correct your child whenever his or her bottom is on the floor with the legs splayed out to the side – forming a “W” with the legs and knees. This position, called “W-sitting” increases inward walking.

Encourage proper sports

Encourage all physical activities that make your child’s feet point outwards. This is to encourage your child to develop a habit of turning feet outwards instead of inward. Ballet is an example of a good sport.

Wear proper shoes

Foot deformities can either be the cause or the consequence of inward walking. Wearing rigid shoes with an arch support stabilizes the leg and decreases the negative impact of foot problems.

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