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Common Childhood Orthopedic Conditions

As your child's body grows, you may notice that growth isn't occurring completely on the straight and narrow. Many young children exhibit flatfeet, toe walking, pigeon toes, bowlegs, and knock-knees in their first years of life.

Some of these conditions correct themselves without treatment as the child grows. Others that persist or become more severe may be linked to other conditions. Many orthopedic conditions, just like dimples or cleft chins, are just normal variations of human anatomy that don't require treatment.

Most babies are born with feet that are flat, and arches grow as the child grows. But in some children who are born with flatfeet, the arch never fully develops. Parents often first notice their child has what they describe as "weak ankles." The ankles appear to turn inward because of the way the feet are planted.

Flatfeet usually do not represent an impairment of any kind for the child. Doctors do not recommend any special footwear, such as high-top shoes or shoes with arch supports, because these "treatments" do not affect arch development.

Parents with flat-footed children sometimes say their children are clumsier than other kids. But doctors say that flatfeet should be no cause for concern. Flatfeet shouldn't interfere with a child's ability to play sports. Typically, doctors only consider treating the child if the condition becomes painful. Doctors may give the child arch supports to insert into his or her shoes.

Toe Walking
Toe walking is common among toddlers when they are first learning to walk, especially during the second year of life. Generally, the tendency goes away by age 2, although in some children, it persists. Intermittent toe walking should not be cause for concern. But children who walk on their toes almost exclusively and continue to do so after the age of 2 should be evaluated by a doctor. Persistent toe walking in older children or toe walking on one leg but not the other may be linked to other conditions, such as cerebral palsy or other problems with the child's nervous system.
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Categories: Children's Health, Health & Wellness,

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