Why does my child keep tripping over when they run?

A common concern many parents express is that their child seems to trip over a lot or seems generally ‘awkward’ or ‘clumsy’ compared to other children their age. There are a few reasons that this may occur, however one of the more common reasons is that your child may have an intoed or ‘pigeon toed’ gait pattern.
A pigeon toed gait pattern refers to the inward rotation of the lower limb and foot with walking. When the foot adopts this position it can knock or catch the opposite leg as it swing through the gait cycle.
There are three main areas which can contribute to this gait pattern.

Metatarsus Adductus (C-Shaped foot)
This is usually present from a very young age and presents by the forefoot turning inwards in relation to the rearfoot. Metatarsus adductus deformities are commonly flexible and will correct in their own time or with mild soft tissue intervention.

Internal Tibial Torsion (twist in the shin bone)
This may only become noticeable once your child starts to walk, however is usually related to positioning in utero. If the shin bone has rotated inwards this will lead to the foot adopting the same positioning during standing and walking.

Internal femoral rotation (twist in the thigh bone)
A common sign that the thigh bone is rotated inwards is that the child’s knee caps will appear to point towards each other rather than straight.
Thigh position is heavily impacted by hip position and the muscles which surround and stabilize the hip joint. If there is an imbalance between the muscles which rotate your hip inwards to the ones that rotate outwards, the whole lower limb and foot may be affected in the same manor.
If you are concerned about the appearance of your child’s feet or worried about frequent falls, a thorough lower limb and gait assessment should be considered. There are many treatment options available, however it is important to differentiate between an anatomical variation and normal developmental milestones in children.

For more information on the treatments available for in-toeing visit our website. https://www.fnqpodiatry.com.au/cairns-podiatry-orthotics-services/childrens-pidgeon-toed-treatment-cairns/